Jeweled Brussels Sprouts

Jeweled Brussels Sprouts 2013

Brussels sprouts - I’ve heard that people either love ‘em or hate ‘em, but lately I’ve noticed people giving these cute little cabbages a second chance. In our house, we are big fans and like them cooked in a variety of ways. With the holidays approaching, this preparation is just perfect! I braise the Brussels sprouts rather than roasting them, so the oven is freed up for other cooking adventures, and top them with a pretty combination of toasted pecans, chewy dried cranberries, and a fresh burst of lemon zest.

I made this dish for friends, including two 8 year olds, and it was a big hit. The kids preferred their Brussels sprouts without the topping and that’s totally fine! The biggest compliments came when my son said, “Yay! Brussels sprouts!” and our little friend asked her mom to make them “just like this” next time. I am not making that up!

Winter is the perfect time for this delightful vegetable. They are sweetest when they are still small, but the most important thing is to buy them fresh - not frozen. So grab some the next time you see them and maybe even consider this dish for your holiday table. I know we will!

Jeweled Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts

2 tsp. bacon grease

1 shallot, finely chopped about 1/4 c.

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. vegetable or chicken broth

2 T. pecans, toasted and chopped

2 T. dried cranberries (without sugar, preferred), chopped

1 tsp. lemon zest

pepper to taste

Directions

1) Start by cutting the bottoms off of the Brussels sprouts. Depending on the size, leave them whole if they’re quite small, halve them, or quarter them. The idea is to have a bowl full of similarly sized bites. Remove any damaged looking leaves and put all the rest of the sprouts into a strainer to give them a bit of a rinse.

2) Melt the bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the shallots for about 3 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the Brussels sprouts, along with any water clinging to them, to the pan and sprinkle with the salt. Stir to coat everything and allow it to heat up a bit, just a minute or two. Add the broth and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding a tablespoon or two of water if the pan becomes dry before the sprouts are done to your liking.

3) When the Brussels sprouts are tender, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and allow to brown and caramelize slightly by leaving them undisturbed for a couple minutes at a time. Remove from the heat, add the toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and lemon zest. Season with additional salt, if necessary, and a few grinds of pepper.

Serves 4

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