It's been a while since we've had brussels sprouts around here so when I saw some small, lovely ones at the market the other day I just had to buy them. For those of you out there like me that HATED them as a kid, I urge you to give them another try. If your childhood experience with the little buggers was anything like mine, and you submitted to eating overcooked, sour, disintegrating slug-like morsels whenever your mom whipped them up (sorry mom, I know that's the way everyone cooked them back then), then it's time to give them another try.
These days, we cook the cute little cabbages most simply by slicing them down the middle and either roasting or sauteeing them over high heat to caramelize the sugars on their cut surface and add some sweetness to them. Then we add a little liquid to braise them briefly, until just cooked through but still with a little crunch to them, toss them with a little butter and some chopped fresh herbs et voila.
The days of the water-logged, stinky cabbage are over.
In this recipe we show our little green friends a bit more love by letting them party-up with some bacon, apples and dried cherries. The smoky, salty sweetness brought by these additions really complement the roasted, crunchy goodness of the sprouts. A few bites of these babies and I promise you'll forget all about the slimy little ones you had to choke down as a kid.
Don't make your ankle-biters hate brussels sprouts like we did when we were kids, show them how good they can be with this tasty dish!
Cheers – Steve
- 3/4 pound brussels sprouts, roots trimmed and halved top to bottom
- 4 slices of thick bacon
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped into small dice
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Chop the bacon into lardons, then toss them into the hot skillet and cook until the bacon has rendered most of its fat and is nice and crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain and pour off all of the bacon fat, leaving just a thin coating in the pan.
- Add the sprouts to the pan, and arrange them cut side down to nicely brown this surface. Cook them undisturbed for about 5 minutes, until the cut side is nicely caramelized. Add the apples to the pan and give the whole mix a quick stir then let cook another 3-4 minutes so that the rounded side of the sprouts and the apple cubes can begin to brown as well.
- Toss in the shallot and garlic (and a touch of olive oil if the pan seems too dry), lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until they are translucent. Add the cherries and the stock and increase the heat again until the stock starts to boil. Cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated, then add the vinegar and bacon and cook for 1 minute more. Toss in the butter and check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired.