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The Best Brussels Sprouts Ever

November 16, 2011

I feel bad for the brussels sprout. It’s an odd-looking vegetable that most people assume they hate. Yes, they do look like mini cabbages and chances are, you probably ate them when they were prepared badly. But I’m here today to change your mind about one of the most under-rated vegetables that makes a perfect Thanksgiving side dish.ย  I’ve been making these for Thanksgiving for nearly a decade and they never disappoint, nor do I take home any leftovers. Really, they’re that good.

This recipe is loosely based off a recipe I tried from Williams-Sonoma many years ago. While this recipe calls for pancetta (Italian bacon), simply leave it out for a vegetarian version.

The Best Brussels Sprouts

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp chopped shallots

4 oz. chopped pancetta

1 pound brussels sprouts (if you’re using large ones, cut them in half)

1 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Melt butter in a large saute pan. Add shallots and cook until they are translucent. Add the pancetta and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add brussels sprouts to the saute pan with the pancetta and shallots. Add black pepper, thyme, and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring mixture to a boil; then reduce to low and cover the pan. Let cook for about 10 – 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of your brussels sprouts. So check them every few minutes to make sure you don’t end up with soggy sprouts.

When done, stir the mixture and taste for flavors.ย  I rarely add salt if I’m using pancetta. But if you leave it out, add salt now. Then pat yourself on the back for adding such an under-appreciated vegetable to the Thanksgiving table.

Don’t forget to check out Monday’s post — Thanksgiving Stuffing with a Crockpot Twist — if you need an easy dressing!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Trying a new recipe this year? Tell me about it!

41 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2011 2:31 am

    I love brussels sprouts with bacon. I am also in the minority of people who simply loves brussels sprouts — I serve them every Thanksgiving. Nice post.

    • November 17, 2011 8:42 pm

      Thanks, Susan. I love them too! I’ve also been known to make roasted sprouts — olive oil, salt and pepper. Delicious!

  2. November 16, 2011 2:38 am

    This summer I visited my sister and my 10 yr old nephew – he and I share many things in common (we are both Aries, we talk to everyone about everything and WE LOVE BRUSSEL SPROUTS). Well my sister, trying to keep up with the times made them (and obviously she is not an enthusiast) using a new recipe…I was dubious when I saw the recipe, but I am game for everything new. Once on the table, my nephew looked at me….accusingly…and asked how could I ever let someone who doesn’t even like B.S. to persuade me to cook them in this manner? His disappointment was evident in both me and the end results of my sisters recipe, so hopefully I can make up some brownie points sending him this recipe!!
    I invite you to check out our blog.
    http://www.pierotucci.wordpress.com

    • November 17, 2011 9:49 pm

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you like the recipe. I’ll check out your blog too.

  3. November 16, 2011 2:46 am

    I LOVE Brussels Sprouts — and my kids do too! This recipe looks amazing, and I have another one that I make on Thanksgiving (and other times) from Mark Bittman (NYTimes) for braised Brussels Sprouts. It’s similar, except the sprouts end up almost carmelized. I love that recipe too, so I know how it’s possible to wax poetic over Brussels Sprouts!!! Glad to see them getting some blog time ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 17, 2011 10:15 pm

      I’m glad you enjoy the sprouts too, Julia! I’d love to see the recipe for that braised brussels sprouts. Sounds delicious!

  4. November 16, 2011 5:55 am

    You got me with your stuffing, (definitely making it for my thanksgiving) my mouth water when I was reading your post about it, but I am sorry NO Brussels sprouts for me, even thou they look delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 17, 2011 10:19 pm

      Okay, I guess there are those out there that have a legitimate excuse for not wanting to eat a sprout. I forgive you ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. November 16, 2011 5:57 am

    There are very few foods I don’t like. Brussels Sprouts is on that short list. They usually taste both sour and bitter. Is that a result of poor cooking? When it comes to food, I trust you, so next time I’m feeling adventurous in the kitchen, I’ll give it a try.

    • November 17, 2011 10:20 pm

      I think it is a result of poor cooking and not the right flavoring. Maybe I’ll whip up a batch before the next SheWrites meet-up so you can taste one!

  6. November 16, 2011 6:34 am

    I might be willing to give this one a try sometime. I eat all the bitter-tasting greens my Southern husband cooks. You’d think I’d get use to the taste of B.S. My husband would thank you if I were able to add the baby cabbage to the table. He misses it.

    • November 17, 2011 10:21 pm

      Let me know if you make them, Julie. Is your husband a kale and collard green fan too?

  7. November 16, 2011 7:04 am

    I grew up as the most picky eater, but I loved brussels sprouts much to the surprise of my mom. I look forward to trying this recipe — looks simple and delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    • November 17, 2011 10:22 pm

      Thanks, Caryn. Let me know if you do try it. Will be curious to hear what others think.

  8. November 16, 2011 7:55 am

    Okay, I am SOOO adding this to my vegan Thanksgiving menu. I’ve recently rediscovered brussel sprouts, after not eating them for years cuz my kids made me promise I’d never serve them in our house again. However, now that they are adult, and vegan, they are much more open to experimenting, so I’ll let you know if this recipe wins them over. Thanks Leah!

    • November 17, 2011 10:22 pm

      Yes, please let me know how they turn out! I bet they’ll be delicious as vegan style! I’m really dying to see your menu.

  9. November 16, 2011 9:36 am

    OK.. I am one of those brussel sprouts haters … So bitter! Is it because I had crappily-prepared ones? THIS looks delicious; how could it NOT with butter and pancetta? I seriously may have to try this, Leah! Thank you, master chef!

    • November 17, 2011 10:23 pm

      Yes, Melissa, I think you’ve suffered from badly-prepared brussels sprouts. Because I’ve never tasted a bitter one before. I think it’s all about how you cook them. And you’re right — butter and pancetta makes everything better.

  10. November 16, 2011 9:54 am

    I confess to loathing the green things – regardless of how they are tarted up to look seductive. Food should not have to seduce. Of course, living in England and being forced to eat my mother-in-laws over cooked veggies might have contributed to my loathing. Something to note, her brussels were never this green, rather they were a lighter shade of pale. Hmm. I have sent this link on to my sister who continues to try and find the perfect recipe for the green buggers.

    • November 17, 2011 10:23 pm

      Well I can see where your dis-taste for the sprouts came from. I hope your sister enjoys them though.

  11. November 16, 2011 10:24 am

    Let’s hear it for brussel sprouts ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love them roasted, but I’m always happy for new ways of cooking them. Thank you, Leah.

    • November 17, 2011 10:24 pm

      Thanks, Deborah. I love them roasted too. They are so good!

  12. November 16, 2011 12:32 pm

    I love Brussel sprouts – usually roast them, maybe with other vegs or on their own. Oil olive, some herbs, kosher salt. Divine!

    • November 17, 2011 10:25 pm

      Oh yes, roasted sprouts are so good, with just some olive oil, Kosher salt and pepper. YUM!

  13. November 16, 2011 3:49 pm

    Leah, you had me at pancetta! Would you believe me if I told you I’ve never eaten brussels sprouts? That said, this recipe of yours has me toying with the idea that I want to prepare it as a side dish for dinner sometime this week! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 17, 2011 10:25 pm

      Thanks, Bella. I’ll be curious what you think if you make them. Let me know how your first sprout tastes.

  14. November 16, 2011 5:31 pm

    Sounds mighty tasty. I don’t think we’ve had Brussels sprouts in over 30 years. I don’t know why though. We like most cabbagey foods like that. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Your photos are really pretty. Yum! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 17, 2011 10:26 pm

      Thank you so much! They are one of those veggies you forget about and often do not make. But I love them.

  15. November 16, 2011 9:11 pm

    YUMMM!!! I LOVE brussel sprouts. I hated them as a kid but in the past few years I’ve found so many delicious ways to cook them- roasting, sauteeing, shredding and cooking with pasta and pancetta…

    • November 17, 2011 10:26 pm

      Exactly, Erin! It’s all about how they’re cooked. Roasting is awesome too.

  16. November 16, 2011 9:20 pm

    These look amazing! I love brussels sprouts – but only very recently. I just discovered that cooked properly, they’re amazing! Making them like you did most definitely is cooking them right!

    • November 17, 2011 10:27 pm

      Thanks, Ann. And yes, it’s all about the cooking. I really like the recipe you posted last week too. I want to try that soon.

  17. November 17, 2011 2:26 pm

    Yay team brussel sprouts! I absolutely love them! I was told about this recipe by a Polish guy I went to uni with – typical Xmas day serving. I have been meaning to try it since, but my husband is definitely not a fan, nor my daughter. My son however likes to eat them but eats them by peeling each layer individually.

    • November 17, 2011 10:28 pm

      Thanks, Ellie. That’s funny about how your son eats them, but I can totally see that. Maybe your husband will come to love them if they’re prepared right. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. November 17, 2011 9:59 pm

    oh God i love brussel sprouts!

    • November 17, 2011 10:28 pm

      Seriously, Jessica, aren’t they good?!

  19. November 17, 2011 10:24 pm

    You had me at pancetta. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks delicious — I’m always eager for new ways to cook Brussels sprouts. Thanks!

    • November 17, 2011 10:28 pm

      Yeah, you can’t really go wrong with pancetta, can you? ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. December 2, 2011 4:16 pm

    This looks good! I roast them in olive oil and garlic then crumble and toss with crispy bacon. drool.

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