Growing up I never liked Brussels sprouts. They were always overcooked gray-green lumps sitting on my plate and taunting me to eat them. Others might sing their praises but try as I might I just couldn’t see the attraction. Somehow I managed to avoid them for most of my adult life and I was just fine with that. Then all of a sudden they seemed to become a trendy vegetable and they were everywhere; all of my cooking magazines profiled the bright green piles of mini-cabbage like vegetables (in Albanian they are called little cabbages) as if they were the greatest thing around. As I paid more attention to the recipes I was intrigued.However, I could never seem to find a recipe that completely enthralled me so I developed my own. What I came up with was good. Crisp to the bite with subtle flavors of lemon, thyme and bacon (yes, everything is better with bacon) dinner guests rave about them. Even non – Brussels sprouts eaters (a.k.a. Glenn) eat them. As an added bonus, this dish is easy and can be made ahead of time. I’ve served them both hot and at room temperature and have even been known to eat the leftovers cold right from the refrigerator. And did I mention that they are easy to make?
PANCETTA BRAISED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 small onion, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
2 medium carrots, diced in 1/4 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
Zest from one lemon
1/4 Teaspoon red chili pepper flakes- or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and stir
frequently continuing to cook until the meat begins to brown on all sides 5-7 minutes.
|Pancetta, onions, and carrots cooking
2) Add the onion and carrots and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
3) Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and continue to
cook for 15 to 20 minutes stirring frequently to prevent the sprouts from sticking. Add additional
olive oil in one teaspoon increments if necessary to prevent scorching.
4) Cook until the Brussels sprouts are to your preferred level of doneness. They will turn a bright green
as they continue to cook and will brown slightly on their cut sides. I prefer mine crisp to the bite and
a total of 20 to 25 minutes of cooking usually does the trick.
5) Remove from the heat. Add the thyme, lemon zest and chili pepper flakes and season with salt and
|Ready to eat
Tagged: Brussels sprouts, pancetta, side dishes, vegetables