The thing about brussels sprouts is – they can be so good, or so very, very bad. Depending on the preparation, you could end up with roasted sprouts that are charred and crispy-caramelized on their leafy edges, or steamed sprouts that are mushy and watery (eww.) And then there’s the seasoning to think about, because brussels sprouts like a lot of seasonings in order to make them taste anything but bland. I’m not sure if I’ve ever encountered a veg that was so beloved by chefs while being so reviled by people dealing with bad memories from their childhood, but I can say with confidence that if you’re in the latter camp: this recipe will be the one that converts you. Keep reading for the recipe, and see them in action at our Friendsgiving Feast right over here.
*photos by Ashleigh Amoroso
Okay, there are a couple flavoring heros in this dish: bacon and dates are what really take these sprouts to the next level. I don’t usually subscribe to the “bacon makes everything better” ethos, but here they give so much smokiness and depth of flavor that really transforms the entire dish.
Then there are the dates, which are the perfect foil to the bacon with their sweet chewiness. I found some at the grocery which were pre-chopped, making my life way easier. You could also substitute golden raisins here for similar effect.
Since brussels sprouts aren’t about to win any awards for “most photogenic” – especially after they’ve been cooked – I dressed these up with a few halved radishes thrown in the mix and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds at the end. Totally optional, but they will earn you major points for presentation with minimal effort.
These were inspired by the brussels sprouts I love at my fave LA restaurant, Gjelina, and I’ve got to say that they come pretty darn close to that version while being easy enough to make at home on a weeknight. Give them a spin now, and I have a feeling they just might make their way into your Thanksgiving menu this year.
- 4 ounces bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch squares
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
- 1 bunch radishes, stemmed & halved lengthwise
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup pitted dates, chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- garnish: pomegranate seeds (optional)
- Place bacon in a large cast-iron skillet and bring up to medium-high heat. Cook until it starts to get crispy, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl and increase the heat to high.
- Add the Brussels sprouts and radishes to the pan cut-side down and sear, without shaking the pan, until well-charred – about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, then shake the pan to move the sprouts and radishes around.
- Add the dates and cooked bacon, and toss well. Gradually add the stock to the pan, stirring for a couple minutes, then add the vinegar and maple syrup.
- When the sauce is thick enough to coat everything, and the sprouts are tender on the outside but still have a bite inside, remove from heat. Transfer to serving platter and eat!