Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sprouts On The Side.

We have an open table for Thanksgiving dinner.  This means that anyone who needs somewhere to go is always welcome.  We get a lot of University students who are far from home.  One year a girl attended our dinner and sent a lovely Thank You card, but later told our daughter,  "I loved the food...but I was surprised by the Brussels sprouts.  Who eats those at Thanksgiving?  I'm sorry, I just couldn't bring myself to try them!"  
Really?  I thought they were sort of a Thanksgiving staple.  It's not as if we didn't serve the candied yams, mashed potatoes, and corn, but we happen to LIKE sprouts.  I do acknowledge that not everyone feels this way.  I didn't always like them, but I wanted my children to eat them.  They are so darn nutritious and I wanted to be a good Mom.  And they're cute, like little miniature cabbages.  And then....I roasted a batch and I loved them!!! So sweet and nutty.
Here is a recipe I adapted from the Voltaggio Brothers. They are not roasted; they 're just a little dressed up for the holidays.  And who doesn't like bacon, apples, and onions?  Even if you are not a member of the Brussels Sprouts fan club, you might like these.  And after all, there is still that "cute factor".
Holiday Brussels Sprouts

2 pounds of fresh Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
8-ounces of smoked bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 green apples, sliced and peeled
Freshly Ground black pepper
Salt, to taste

5-ounces of canola oil
3–ounces of extra-virgin olive oil
2-ounces of apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add 1 Tablespoon of salt. Create an ice bath by filling a pan with ice and water in equal amounts; make sure that the pan will hold the cooked sprouts. I usually put the ice bowl in the clean sink, just in case it overflows.

Trim and wash the sprouts. Cut an X into the stem end to aid cooking. Add the sprouts to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes or until the sprouts are tender. Do not overcook or they will lose their bright green color. Remove them with a slotted spoon to the ice bath to stop the cooking. Let them sit in the bath for about 10 minutes or until they are cool. Cut them in half and set them aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the bacon and cook until all the fat is rendered and the pieces are crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the 1 Tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat in the pan and add the onions. Let them sauté until they are translucent and then add the apples to the pan. Continue to cook the mixture until the apples are cooked through and the onions are brown. Add the sprouts and toss to coat with the onions and apples. Add salt and pepper as desired, and cook until the sprouts are golden brown and heated through, another 6-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ½ of the vinaigrette to the pan and toss.   Adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. 
Remove the vegetables to a platter, sprinkle the bacon pieces on top, and serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side in a saucier.

To make the vinaigrette:
Put all ingredients except the oils in a blender or food processor.  Pulse.  Pour the oil slowly into the blender and emulsify.


  1. I love sprouts ! This recipe sounds great !
    I have to work Thanksgiving [ darn hospitals just never close for the Holidays ] so I will be meeting up with my family later in the late afternoon.

  2. I have heard that b.sprouts are delicious roasted that way! I have NEVER eaten one.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. My husband refuses to eat Brussels sprouts. Guess I'll have to try them at your house one day.

  4. I confess. I am 39 years old and I've never even tasted a Brussels Sprout! Perhaps I will get brave and try your recipe. Are cooked Brussel sprouts slimy? I don't care for cooked greens because the texture is so gross though I will eat them raw no problem. Your recipe and photos do have me wondering if I'm missing out.

  5. Oooh, thanks for the recipe -- they look delicious! It sounds like your little friend didn't get out much -- sprouts are definitely Thanksgiving food at our house too. Really, anything is game at Thanksgiving, isn't it? Isn't that the whole idea? A big ol' jumbo feast???

  6. I love brussel sprouts. The apples are a great addition...this is a delicious sounding recipe.

  7. Cynthia, I suppose sprouts could be slimy if you cooked them for a long time. You want them to be bright green and just tender not mushy. They are not like okra however.

    I was glad to see that many of you serve these at Thanksgiving too.