Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Classic Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

Sous Vide braised lamb shanks and Brussels sprouts tossed with bacon.  This is the sort of food that keeps me happy on a cold, cold night when I just want to huddle under a blanket and stop for a bit.  The lamb shanks are just stupid easy - the only thing you need to do is remember to start them 2 days ahead.  Follow the link for the recipe, add different herbs if you want.

On a more pedestrian note, the classic bacon and Brussels sprouts.  I did these stove top because I can use the same pan for the bacon and the sprouts, and I get to cook the sprouts in the bacon fat.  Win-win.  This can be done in the oven - but I would cook the bacon separately and stir it in at the end.  Bacon and sprouts cook at different speeds, and there is too much risk of burt one thing, and undercooked other.  (You could cook the sprouts at one end of the pan, and the bacon strips at the other - just keep an eye on the bacon, and pull it when it's done.  See Savory & Sour Brussels Sprouts for info.)

Stove Top Brussels Sprouts & Bacon

Brussels sprouts (5-8 sprouts per person is typically a good number, know your diners)
2 slices bacon (for every 25 - 30 sprouts) 
(1/4 water)
paper towel - folded into quarters

cast iron pan/heavy sauté pan
knife & cutting board

Cut the larger sprouts in half, leave the smaller ones whole.
(If you have raw sprouts, put the sprouts in the pan with the 1/4 water, place the pan over medium-high heat ad cover.  Bring to turn down to medium heat and steam the sprouts for about 5 minutes).  Dry out the sprouts over medium high heat (do this whether they are thawed or you just gave them a steam).
Cut the bacon into strips about the width of your pinky.  Then cut the strips in to squares

Cook the bacon 1st.
The way sprouts cook would cause limp,
flabby (possibly burned) bits
if you cooked them together
Quickly wipe out the pan with the paper towel so it doesn't have any water in it.  The pan will still be pretty hot, so a quick wipe with the thick folded towel is all you need.  Add the bacon and fry over medium-high heat until well browned.  Scoop up the bits, and place on a paper towel.
Put the dried (steamed) sprouts in the bacon greasy pan.  Cook over medium/medium-high heat for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  They should have some charred spots.  Test one sprout to see if it is cooked through in the middle.  If not, cook 5 or so minutes more.
When the sprouts are cooked through, stir the bacon back in, add salt and pepper so it tastes awesome.


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