Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts
Have you started your holiday meal planning yet? If you have, bravo! If you haven’t, don’t despair, neither have we. Typically that happens about two days before the event. But if I have anything to do with it this year (and that’s a big if, as my dad is usually the one who decides what we eat for the big family meals) these brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon will be on the menu.
Chestnuts and brussels sprouts are a natural combination—earthy and strong, warm and filling. Add bacon to the mix and you have a match made in heaven. The only tricky part to this recipe is that you shred the brussels sprouts and then blanch them in salty water, and then shock them in ice water to set the color bright green. Other than that it’s an easy sauté. Whatever you do, don’t overcook the sprouts. Overcooking them will give them a somewhat sulfuric taste. But cooked just enough? Perfect. Especially with the chestnuts and bacon.
Chestnuts are delicious, but a major pain to roast and shell (have you ever exploded chestnuts all over your kitchen? I have). Canned (jarred more like it) chestnuts actually work better in recipes than the kind you roast and peel yourself. The texture and moisture content is more consistent. So, we suggest using canned roasted chestnuts for this recipe. You can of course roast and shell your own if you prefer.
- 1 pound brussels sprouts
- 1/3 pound thick-sliced bacon or slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces or batons
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 20-25 canned roasted chestnuts, quartered or roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon wedges to serve
1 Put a large pot of salty water on the stove to boil. While the water is heating, cut the brussels sprouts in half and slice thinly, starting at the top of the sprout and working back toward the stem. Discard the hard tip of the stem side.
2 Cut the bacon into pieces about 1/4 inch wide and put them in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
3 Once the water is boiling, add all the brussels sprouts and boil them for 2 minutes. While the sprouts are boiling, get a large bowl of ice water ready. Transfer the brussels sprouts to the ice water (this will shock them vibrant green and stop the cooking) and chill thoroughly. Move to a colander to drain.
4 When the bacon is browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat (do not put down the drain, see how to render bacon fat). Turn up the heat to high, add the red onions. Cook until the onions begin to brown, add back the bacon.
5 Add the chestnuts and brussels sprouts to the sauté pan with the bacon and onions. Add the chicken stock and toss to combine. Stir in about 1 teaspoon of salt, more or less to taste. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add pepper to taste.
Serve hot with lemon wedges. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the sprouts right before you eat them.