Brussels sprouts have become a favored side dish at holiday meals for my side of our family. My brother and I usually take turns bringing them to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter lunches. My lack of communication with Jonathan over this year’s Thanksgiving meal left us without the customary Brussels sprouts making their arrival on Thanksgiving Day. We were forgiven for our oversight, but informed that the sprouts would be expected for Christmas!
The week following Thanksgiving, our Bible study group met together for a “Friendsgiving” meal! I took Brussels sprouts.
Several friends have told me they had never tried Brussels sprouts before and would like the recipe. I don’t really have a recipe on paper or in a book. I just kind of throw things in the pan! So, while I prepared this batch, I took photos and noted my ingredients and measurements.
For this large group I made a good-sized batch, so just cut this in half for your family or a smaller group.
4 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and cut in half (leave any teeny tiny ones whole)
1 pound of bacon, chopped
2 or 3 shallots, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
The juice of 1 1/2 lemons
Wash, trim, and halve 4 pounds of Brussels sprouts. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Cook about a pound of chopped bacon in a pan. You can use less, but if you have bacon-nibblers at your house like I do, go ahead and do the whole pound, or hide the bacon once it’s done. SAVE DRIPPINGS!
Sauté the shallots in a little of the bacon drippings. Drain and set aside.
In two batches (one batch if you’re making half this recipe), sauté the Brussels sprouts in more of the bacon drippings. Season with salt and pepper. If your pan gets a little dry and you don’t have more bacon drippings, just add a little olive oil.
Cook until there is a lovely golden color on the sprouts. I promise, you’ll be glad you did! It hightens the flavors. If your pan is getting a little dark on the bottom after the first batch of sprouts, wash or deglaze it before throwing in the next batch so you don’t have a burnt taste in the final product.
Place the sautéed sprouts in a baking dish with the cooked shallots. Finish cooking in the oven to your desired doneness. I like mine to have a crispness left in them, but when I make them for a large group, I will cook them longer to suite those who might prefer their veggies softer.
When they are almost to the your desired doneness, stir in 3 tablespoons of butter, the juice of 1 1/2 lemons, a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, and whatever bacon you managed to keep from the bacon-nibblers. Put back in the oven for remaining cook time.
Doesn’t this make you want to eat your veggies!!!
If you’re feeling fancy, substitue pancetta for the bacon. I once made these with pancetta, and oh my, was it wonderful! But bacon is more affordable and plenty delicious, so that’s what I go with these days. If you haven’t tried Brussels sprouts, start with this recipe and I’m pretty sure you’ll be hooked!