Have you noticed that oven roasted brussels sprouts have taken over the spotlight from kale in recent weeks? Did you ever think that day would come? I warn you not to get too comfortable with the vanishing of kale. Come January, you’ll be seeing that thick green leaf come back with a vengeance (kinda like that head cold you thought you got rid of a couple of weeks ago). Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but enjoy the silence while it lasts and deal with one more brussels sprouts recipe.
Like many of you, I grew up with gray brussels sprouts. Not that they were that color before being cooked to death…that’s just the best description of the color they turned after my mom got done boiling the life out of them. (Love you mom…she actually reads this blog and I’m pretty sure she’ll leave some choice words for me down in the comments.) Not only were these little cabbages cooked to a different color, but the consistency was somewhere between mush and slime. No wonder I hated brussels sprouts. Although I preferred them over cooked spinach…still do.
But I digress….
I have since learned that changing up the way you cook brussels sprouts has a serious impact on their flavor. Yes, roasting them in the oven gives them a great sweetness, but shredded brussels sprouts (the little baby sprouts) with a quick toss in a hot pan is also a delicious way to prepare them. Today’s brussels sprouts recipe gives you a combination of roasting and top of the stove cooking for one of the most delicious, and versatile, vegetable side dishes you can enjoy in these colder months.
Pan roasting brussels sprouts, whole sprouts, works best if you can get your hands on those cute little baby sprouts. The little one’s are a lot sweeter than their bigger counter parts and still taste great with just a bit of cooking as opposed to the longer cooking at a high heat that’s needed to bring the sweetness out of the bigger sprouts. But…if you can’t find baby sprouts you can still make this recipe. You can either run your sprouts through the shredder or cut them into smaller pieces. This will allow more of the brussels sprouts to come in contact with the hot pan and help to sweeten them.
There’s no added sugar or sweeteners in this recipe. Given all the sweets we’re eating this time of year I didn’t think I needed to add to it. But of course there’s pork in this dish. Instead of using the usual bacon to add more flavor, I decided to use Pancetta. Okay, it’s basically Italian bacon. Whatever! I like that you can buy packages of the stuff already cubed up. There’s no reason to make cooking any more complicated than it needs to be. To give these roasted brussels sprouts a little more crunch, I top them off with some toasted pecan pieces.
The hardest part about making this dish is cleaning and cutting the brussels sprouts. Outside of that, you pretty much just toss the ingredients in the same pan to cook. Pecans get toasted and removed from pan, Pancetta goes in and gets cooked until crunchy then removed from the pan and then the sprouts go in and cook in the rendered Pancetta fat. Once you’ve got them cooked to the doneness you like, you add back the Pancetta and pecans. Add a bit of freshly ground black pepper and maybe a touch of salt (taste first because your Pancetta may have added enough salt), give everything a good stir and your done. How easy is that?
Give these pan roasted brussels sprouts a try, I think you’re really going to like them. Oh, and don’t worry about leftovers…these re-heat beautifully or taste fantastic stirred into a hash for breakfast the next morning.
- Handful Pecans (roughly chopped)
- 4 Ounce Packaged Cubed Pancetta
- 1½ Pounds Baby Brussels Sprouts (hard ends trimmed)
- ⅓ Cup White Wine
- Juice from ½ Lemon
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Kosher Salt (optional)
- Heat large skillet over medium high heat and add pecans.
- Toss pan to toast pecans.
- Once they're toasted, remove them to a plate and add Pancetta to hot pan.
- Stir the Pancetta occasionally to cook on all sides.
- Once Pancetta starts to release some fat, reduce heat to medium to continue rendering fat and crisping meat without burning it.
- Remove Pancetta to a plate while leaving fat in the pan.
- Carefully add brussels sprouts to the pan and turn heat back up to medium high heat.
- Stir sprouts to coat thoroughly with fat and continue to occasionally stir them.
- After they've been cooking for 2 minutes, carefully add the wine to the pan, stir, then cover.
- Cook covered sprouts for 5 minutes then remove cover and stir.
- Continue to cook until liquid has cooked off and the sprouts have begun to brown, then add the pecans and Pancetta back to the pan.
- Squeeze the lemon over the pan of sprouts.
- Add a few grinds of black pepper and add salt if you like (make sure you taste it first since the Pancetta is already salty).
- Remove from heat and serve.
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