Brussels Sprouts tend to be an all or nothing, love or hate kind of vegetable.
I’m willing to bet that if you fall into the nothing/hate category, these Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta will turn things around for you.
I made these a few weeks ago and have been thinking about them since Thanksgiving is ONLY 10 DAYS AWAY!
I am not one to mess around with the turkey. I have a method (Click HERE for a link to Idiot-Proof Turkey) and I’m not inclined to deviate from it. I cook my turkey in a bag. It is tender. It is moist. It makes tons of juice for gravy. And what should top the list…It is EASY!
My husband wants to fry a turkey. My response? Be my guest. Go ahead…but with your OWN bird. Mine will be in the bag in the oven just like it has been every single year since I started cooking Thanksgiving dinner and just like it has been every single year that I can recall my parents cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Over and out. Amen.
Not to be a complete stick in the mud, I am more than happy to go a little wild with the side dishes.
I LOVE Thanksgiving side dishes. Why not jazz up the mashed potatoes with the addition (note I said addition NOT substitution, I’m not crazy) of some awesome brussels sprouts with pancetta?
Remember the rule? Bacon/Pancetta makes everything better.
Here’s what you need:
Brussels Sprouts, Pancetta, Onion, Olive Oil, Water (not pictured), Pecorino Romano Cheese (or parmesan), Salt & Pepper.
Pancetta is basically the Italian version of bacon with the notable exception that it is not smoked. It often has little peppercorns rolled inside for extra flavor.
I buy my pancetta right at the deli counter. Ask for 3 slices that are about ¼ inch thick. That should give you between 6-8 ounces of pancetta.
Cut or dice the pancetta slices into small pieces.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Choose a pan big enough to accommodate all of the brussels sprouts.
Add the chopped pancetta and sauté it in the oil to render or cook off most of the fat from the meat. The pancetta will get nice and crispy but not quite as crispy as bacon.
Don’t crank up the heat too high or the meat will brown before all of that good grease has rendered out of the meat.
Chop 1 smallish onion (about 1 cup) and add it to the cooked pancetta. Sauté the onions until soft, translucent, and golden.
While the onions cook, rinse and prepare 1 pound of brussels sprouts by removing any loose outer leaves and cutting the sprouts in half.
Golden brown and lovely…
Add the brussels sprouts to the pan and stir them around in the onions and pancetta for a few minutes until they turn bright green.
Pour in 1/2 cup of water, reduce the heat to low, and simmer/braise the brussels sprouts, uncovered, until tender – about 10-12 minutes.
You can test for tenderness by poking the stem end of the sprouts with a small, sharp knife. OR just pop one in your mouth and give it a try.
It’s best not to over-cook brussels sprouts.
Most, if not all of the water should have cooked out of the pan.
Stir in 1/2 cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese and season to taste with pepper.
I don’t personally salt these (but you certainly can) because the pancetta and the cheese add enough of a salt spike for my taste.
This is my new favorite brussels sprouts recipe. If you are not a meat eater, you might want to try these roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar instead.
Or try them both!
For more Thanksgiving ideas, check out this post on How to Have an Idiot-Proof Thanksgiving. It’s a good round-up of all my previous Thanksgiving recipes.
I’ve also started a Pinterest Board of Thanksgiving Recipes.
Time to shake up the boring old side dishes this year with some Braised Brussels Sprouts. Just don’t touch my turkey!