If there was one vegetable I hated as a kid, it was Brussels sprouts.
Wow. It’s like I just heard dozens of people saying “Duh” at the same time.
Okay. I know I wasn’t alone in this hatred. Lucky for me, we rarely ate them. Still, the few times we did have left me scarred for life. Boiled beyond recognition, puke green in color, bearing a faint odor of…well, stank…they were not exactly favored fare.
And it stayed this way. Until recently.
It was only recently that I learned that Brussels sprouts don’t have to be disgusting. They don’t have to be overcooked to the point of mush. They can be infused with flavor.
Bacon flavor. Yes, friends, I was sold.
I wound up using Paula Deen’s Brussels sprouts recipe as a starting point, and made my own alterations as I saw fit. You know me – I always have to edit a recipe to my own liking. I didn’t see a reason to cook 2 pounds at once since I knew I’d be the only one eating them, and I changed the preparation instructions a bit as well. For instance I knew, having received advice from some wise bloggers, that allowing the cut sides to sit in the bacon fat and carmelize would be the way to go. I removed the onions/garlic from the pan prior to adding the sprouts in order to increase the surface area and decrease the chance of dealing with stinky burned garlic. And it just seemed right to me to leave the sprouts in the pan after the broth evaporated in order to sort of re-brown them.
Bacon Brussels Sprouts
1 lb fresh brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and sprouts sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 pound bacon, diced (around 5-6 slices, or more if you’re a glutton like me)
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbs butter
Heat large frying pan over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon using slotted spoon, leaving rendered fat in pan. Set bacon aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook for around a minute, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
Add sprouts to pan. Turn all cut side-down so as to allow carmelization. Cook for several minutes, checking periodically to ensure proper browning without burning. When sprouts have carmelized, add onions and garlic back to pan and pour chicken broth over top. Allow broth to cook down completely, leaving pan uncovered, and occasionally move sprouts around to ensure even cooking.
Once liquid is evaporated, allow sprouts to sit cut side-down again for several minutes in order to encourage further browning. Add butter, and plenty of salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Remove from heat and serve with bacon pieces on top.
And that’s it, friends. So simple and yet so good. The carmelization is marvelous, and I really believe that allowing the cooked sprouts to brown again added another level of flavor.
Plus. Bacon. Yeah. Suffice it to say I sat there and picked at these babies the entire time I was taking pictures of them. Then I ate them all week long. And it was amazing. I think I’ll add more shallots next time, or just regular onions.
Make this dish. I promise you, if you aren’t already a Brussels sprouts convert, you will be. And you’ll wonder how you managed to spend so much time away from them.
Were you forced to eat Brussels sprouts as a kid? Do you think you’d enjoy them more if prepared this way?