On Wednesday, I shared our 2013 Thanksgiving menu and all the recipe inspiration that will make it happen. I also told you that I would be including today’s brussel sprouts recipe with bacon and dried cranberries but didn’t have a picture (yet). I quickly whipped up a batch on Thursday, and voila, pictures that will make your mouth water. For brussel sprouts. Hard to believe, but I know what I’m talking about.
So let’s talk brussel sprouts. Those cute (yes, cute) little cabbages that are sold on long stalks or piled loosely in containers at your local Whole Foods, Fresh Market, or wherever else you buy your groceries. I’ve always loved brussel sprouts and, up until recently, was the lone wolf in the house that ate them. Then I made this brussel sprouts recipe with bacon and dried cranberries. And now, Alexandra requests them (on almost a weekly basis)!!! Never underestimate the power of a little bacon. Brussel sprouts are actually very good for you. And they’re right on up there with avocado and kale on the popular food scale. But many still don’t like them. Like my husband. He won’t touch them with a 10-foot pole.
One of the reasons I think people object to brussel sprouts is the strong cabbage smell while cooking, which, I’ll admit, tends to linger for awhile afterwards. Then there’s the taste. Cabbage, big or small, is still, well, cabbage. But this recipe changes ALL of that. Mainly because all you’re going to smell is the bacon, and all you’re going to taste is a beautiful blend of sweet, plump (dried) cranberries, crisp, savory bacon, a little tang of balsamic vinegar, a hint of garlic (because I don’t do recipes without it), and a hint of the sautéed brussel sprouts beyond. All of a sudden, your family will be cheering and asking for seconds and asking when will you make this again? No, really. I say again, never underestimate the power of a little bacon.
A couple of tips:
Bacon – I use thick cut (Oscar Meyer) bacon. That’s all I had and it worked really well. You can use the regular cut too, but you may have to add a splash of olive oil for moisture.
Brussel Sprouts – when thinly slicing these cutie pies, it’s easier to slice with the grain or from the top of the little cabbage to the root.
Please, oh, please tell me that you’ll try this wonderful little side dish. I truly believe it’s the best brussel sprout recipe (don’t forget the cranberries and bacon)!! It’ll change the way you look at these tiny cabbages. I almost guarantee it.
- 2 strips thick cut or 3 strips regular bacon
- Splash of olive oil
- 25 fresh, raw brussel sprouts - not frozen
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt to start, then to taste (I use coarse sea salt which to me tastes less salty)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper to start, then to taste
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, at the end
- Begin by rinsing the brussel sprouts and then slicing the root off every sprout.
- Next, thinly slice the brussel sprouts (slicing with the grain or from the top to the root).
- Dice the bacon into small pieces and then sauté in a small to medium saucepan until almost or mostly crisp.
- Leave both the drippings and bacon in the bottom of the pan as you drop in the sliced brussel sprouts. Continue to sauté.
- If the brussel sprouts are looking a little dry, give them another splash of olive oil.
- Once the brussel sprouts are cooked (about 7-8 minutes), add the cranberries and continue to sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- After everything is mixed and heated through, add the butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir until well combined.
- Right before you serve, drizzle the top with some balsamic vinegar. Only a drizzle. They should not be soaked in the vinegar.