Braised Baby Brussels Sprouts and Baby Onions with Cumin

Preparation info

  • Serves


    Appears in

    Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

    By Elizabeth Schneider

    Published 2001

    • About

    These bright little orbs of contrasting texture, color, and flavor are not merely cute. They taste just right—and wouldn’t if they were larger. The onions must be the same size as the sprouts (or slightly smaller) to cook properly. Serve with buckwheat or barley and mushrooms for a vegetarian meal. Add pork or lamb for a meaty one.

    Note that the time spent peeling mini-onions is balanced by the time not spent trimming mini-sprouts, which need mini-attention.


    • 1 pint baby (pearl, boiler, or mini-) white, red, or golden onions
    • About pounds (two 1-pint containers) baby Brussels sprouts
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon sugar
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (omit if broth is salted)
    • tablespoons butter or olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds


      1. Pour boiling water over onions in a bowl. Weight with dish and let stand 5 minutes. Drain, then cover with cold water. Removing one at a time, cut a thin sliver from root end (more, and you lose too many layers). Pull off skin and trim neck. As needed, trim bases of sprouts. Rinse.
      2. Combine onions with broth, thyme, sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy, lidded pan wide enough to hold the vegetables in a single tight layer. Bring to a full boil, stirring.
      3. Add sprouts, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until just tender, 6 to 10 minutes, depending upon size.
      4. Meanwhile, stir cumin seeds in a small pan over low heat until toasty and pungent—not dark and smoky. Transfer to a board and chop.
      5. When sprouts and onions are tender, uncover, raise heat, and boil until liquid evaporates, swirling pan. Add cumin and toss. Off heat, add remaining ½ tablespoon butter and toss.