Brussels sprouts, you either love ’em or hate ’em. I find it’s one of those vegetables where it’s a hit or miss. I personally love the little miniature cabbage looking things, but I get that they’re not for everyone. With a little holiday dress-up, even the “brussels sprouts haters of the world” won’t resist this.
Simply roasting brussels sprouts is nothing to balk at – some olive oil, salt and pepper and you have a heck of delicious side. One that is on my dinner table often. But you guys, Thanksgiving calls for just a bit more pizazz, as the late Diana Vreeland would say…
She didn’t really say that about Thanksgiving or brussels sprouts … that’s just me reminiscing about my days at FIT, studying fashion and what a fashion icon she was (and thank you for listening to the spiel).
So here’s my brussels sprouts pizazz list.
Sweet and salty combo? Check.
Crispy bits of pancetta throughout? Check
Thick syrupy glaze to coat brussels sprouts? Check
Fresh rosemary to bring out the flavor of pork and some oomph? Check
Random super crisp brussels sprouts leaves in the mix? Check
Sweet pecans for extra nutty flavor and texture? Check
OK. Think we got it.
And because I adore you I wanted these pizazz-ed up sprouts to be easy and foolproof. I know, I know, not a word but so fun to say hehe.
Oh, also spread out the sprouts to get them nice and crispy.
I know pulling leaves off may be a pain in the butt, but those crispy leaves are heavenly!! You better hide them because sneaky fingers will come and eat them all.
Side note: I used pancetta here, but hey, you can certainly use bacon if you love it or can’t find GF, DF pancetta. The only difference between the two (both are always raw): pancetta is cured, not smoked, whereas, bacon is cured, and smoked. That’s it. Same cut, just a different process.
Another side note: Not all pancetta (or bacon) is gluten free and dairy free. It should clearly state “gluten free” on the packaging. I buy at Whole Foods, and love the brand “Framani”. La Quercia is also a good GF DF brand, sold thinly sliced (and cooks similar to bacon). I tell the lady about our gluten allergies and celiac so she opens up a new package and slices a chunk with a knife (the cutter blades they use interchange between gluten meats and cheeses). They are really good like that. Another thing to look for is lactic acid, it can be dairy, if not, it will say “vegetable source”.
Sear pancetta halfway through before adding shallots.
Now for the maple syrup and brown sugar. This is when the house begins to smell wonderful.
After a few minutes…
After 6 minutes…then turn it off in about a minute, when your spoon is thinly coated with glaze. It will thicken up as it cools. Add rosemary last to keep the flavor bright.
Spoon on your prepared brussels sprouts with pecans…
I served it last week with roast chicken along with a fennel and orange salad and guess what they all went for first? The sprouts, well, not exactly the sprouts…more like the pancetta. Ha! And they all thought it took so much work from the looks of it.
I told them it was. 😉
Give it a good toss and it’s ready to go.
- about 3 pounds fresh brussels sprouts, remove damaged outer leaves and stems trimmed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or canola oil
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- scant ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 8 ounces GF DF pancetta (I use Framani)
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 medium
- 2 handfuls chopped pecan bits (roasted or raw)
- Olive oil for drizzling
- kosher salt and pepper
- For roasting brussels sprouts:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 Celsius). Prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- For some crispy chip-like sprout leaves: pull off some outer, thicker leaves, about a heaping handfuls worth and place on baking sheet. Cut the whole sprouts in half, lengthwise. Transfer onto baking sheets, spread out in a single layer without crowding (to prevent steaming). Evenly sprinkle about two good pinches of kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon total) over the brussels sprouts then about 1 pinch of crushed black pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the sprouts. I use roughly a tablespoon of oil per sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check on them at 25 minutes to make sure the single leaves don’t burn.
- Meanwhile, prepare glaze. In a small skillet set on medium high heat, add coconut oil when hot. When it begins to smoke add pancetta. Let it sit a minute to sear, then toss. Add shallots, stir to combine and cook until softened. Then add maple syrup and brown sugar, reduce to medium heat, and stir just to combine. Let it sit for 5-8 minutes, with 1 or 2
class="gr_gr_146 gr-alert gr_spell ContextualSpelling" id="146" data-gr-id="146">stirs, then when the bubbles become the size of dimes (they will get larger and larger and the syrup evaporates and it thickens with increased heat) stir until your spoon has a thin coating of syrup. Add rosemary, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Transfer roasted brussels sprouts into a serving dish. Toss in pecans, then add pancetta and all its’ glaze. Combine well and serve.
- The glaze can be made days before (just reheat to reach a pourable state before adding to sprouts) and I peel and prep (not wash) my sprouts the day before, then bunch them all in a dish towel and keep it in the fridge until ready to roast.
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