Brussels sprouts? Yeah. Brussels sprouts. They are the unpopular kid in the vegetable world. They get made fun of, picked on, and straight bullied. I'm here to tell you that this need not be. There is a way. We can all get along, and pretty soon (after you make this recipe) you will be best friends with these baby cabbages. You will forget all horrific childhood memories of being forced to sit at the table until you finish your Brussels sprouts. I've converted many a Brussels sprouts skeptic with this magic side dish. Not to mention, we're entering prime Brussels sprouts season. Did you know that Brussels sprouts get sweet after the first frost? It's true. If you've had a frost in your area, find some local Brussels sprouts and try this dish immediately. Lest you remain a sprout hater and regret your decision forever. More on Brussels sprouts another time. Let's get to braisin some sprouts.
Bacon-Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
(A chef in Chicago once told me that you could braise anything in balsamic and it would be divine. There's your proof.)
1/2 pound bacon, sliced
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups chicken stock
1. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, but not crispy. About 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the skillet. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and stir in the olive oil, butter, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the onion softens and the garlic lightly browns, 5-7 minutes.
2. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer; cook until the liquid has reduced by 1/3. Add the reserved bacon, brown sugar, Brussels sprouts and stock. Stir, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the Brussels sprouts are tender, yet still slightly firm, about 10 minutes.
3. Never scrunch your nose up at Brussels sprouts ever again; apologize for being so mean to them over the years.