I’ve always been a fan of Brussels sprouts, even when my sisters weren’t. They’re like little cabbages! What’s not to like? Well, it seems that sprouts of the Brussels variety are still much maligned, and I was happy when The Pater requested them for my contribution to our Thanksgiving meal (held unconventionally on Saturday this year). The Husband was doubly excited—it’s possibly his favorite vegetable dish I make.
Since there was only going to be one vegetarian in the group this year, I decided to add bacon to the original recipe that I cobbled together from a 101cookbooks.com recipe. Hers called for tofu and a different nut, but I like this one best. For vegetarians/vegans, omit the bacon (natch!) and just start with the garlic step. You won’t be disappointed, and if you are, please comment below so I can apologize directly.
These go great with any kind of meat as a side dish, from beef and lamb to pork and chicken. Clearly, it goes with turkey too, as we had it with a deliciously brined turkey on Saturday. There’s little prep and the recipe goes quite quickly, so don’t make them until you are ready to serve them. Otherwise they go all mushy and get that weird flavor that nobody likes.
If you are veggie, then you can add tofu to make it a main dish, or use it as a side dish to your favorite protein or vegan moussaka. And if you wanted to use fakin’ bacon or even veggie sausage, I’d say that was a fantastic idea!
Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Garlic and Almonds
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly lengthwise
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 Granny Smith apple
2 oz. bacon, cut into chunks*
Freshly ground black pepper
Wash and clear off any of the dodgy leaves from the outside of the sprouts, then trim off the bottom. Slice lengthwise into at least three pieces, if not four, depending on how big they are. Set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, deep frying pan; I like one with high sides so I can really stir the sprouts. Add the bacon, if using, and cook until crispy. This might take 10 minutes. Take out the bacon and set aside. Add the garlic, and stir, keeping a close eye on the pan so that the garlic browns, but doesn’t burn. Remove from the pan.
This next bit doesn’t take long at all, so do this right before serving. Make sure the fat in the pan is pretty hot, and add the sprouts. Don’t stir them too much, as you want to get some crisp on them. After about 5 minutes, when the sprouts are turning a bright green, add the apple and stir. Cook for another 3 minutes, then add the garlic and bacon back to the pan.
Season to your taste; try not to over salt, as the bacon will add a salty flavor. If you’re not using bacon, then you probably want to be generous with the salt. Add the almonds right before serving, as you don’t want them to lose their crunch.
I dare you not to like these, with or without bacon!
*I used a chunk of salt pork I found at Whole Foods, but you can use thick-cut bacon or pancetta instead.