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From Amanda: I love Fall for many reasons, but mostly because it brings the return of comfort food into many of my meals. Markets are overflowing with root vegetables, crisp apples, squash of every variety, and hearty greens like spinach. I couldn’t resist picking up a little bit of everything on my last Saturday morning trip to the farmers market, eager to get back into the kitchen.
In need of a snack on the way home, I pulled out a bag of Valdosta Pecan Mix from my purse to quiet my rumbling tummy. After my first handful disappeared in a matter of seconds, I was amazed at all the layers of flavor! Black pepper dusted pecans, dried cranberries, and a touch of orange zest – the sweet and savory combo gets me every time. And that’s when inspiration hit. The delicate presence of the orange seemed like it would be perfect for brightening up a pan of sautéed brussels sprouts and butternut squash, especially with a buttery glaze.
Into the kitchen I went, trimming and dicing the autumn vegetables. I mixed up the glaze of melted butter, single source honey, fresh orange juice, and a hit of black pepper. Once the squash was caramelized and the brussels sprouts seared, I stirred in the pecan mix and coated it all in the bright, yet humble sauce. Served alongside a roasted pork loin, it was declared a winner and will be making its way onto our Thanksgiving table for all to enjoy.
Mix together the first 6 ingredients and set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat pan, then add in squash. Stir the squash pieces so they are coated with oil and sprinkle with 1/4 t salt. Shake the pan so squash spreads out in an even layer and let cook, without stirring, so that they brown a bit on one side (several minutes). Stir and spread the pieces out again and let cook without stirring so more sides get browned. Let cook until the squash is soft, but holds it shape. (This will depend on the size you cut your squash so try one to test.) Once done, remove from heat and pour into a bowl.
Heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat using the same pan. When it’s very hot, place the brussels sprouts cut side down in the oil, sprinkling with 1/2 t salt. Turn the heat to medium, and sear on one side until nicely browned, about three minutes. Turn the brussels sprouts over and cook on the other side until nicely browned and tender, three to five minutes. Some of the leaves can be charred dark brown or black.