I’m eating my way through Hong Kong this week with Henry and the boys—you can follow our adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!—but Chinese food isn’t the only fare on my mind. This morning, I found myself dreaming about the bowl of roasted, buttery Brussels sprouts and smoky bacon that we made last week for Thanksgiving.
It’s been three years since I first posted this dead-simple recipe, and it’s become one of the most popular on this blog. For a long time, I couldn’t figure out why; after all, Brussels sprouts aren’t exactly everyone’s favorite vegetable. Personally, when I was a kid, I couldn’t stand ’em.
It wasn’t until adulthood that I discovered that the mild, nutty bitterness of these bulbous sprouts blends beautifully with smoky pork. It was the warm Brussels sprouts salad with bacon and eggs at the now-long-gone Gordon’s House of Fine Eats in San Francisco that first opened my eyes and ultimately inspired the Cavolini Al Forno recipe in my cookbook (which comes out on December 17, 2013!). But with ingredients like Brussels sprouts and bacon, you don’t have to spend much time in the kitchen to produce a flavorful side dish that punches you in the face with flavor.
And today, I’ve decided to update my old post with the new photos I took on Turkey Day. Ready to revisit this classic recipe with me?
Here’s what to gather to make a side dish that feeds 4-6 people:
- 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts
- 2-3 tablespoons melted ghee or fat of choice
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 4 bacon slices, diced
- Aged balsamic vinegar
Here’s what to do:
If you’re a closet snacker like me, you’ll want to make these chips anytime you buy Brussels sprouts. Whenever I prepare my sprouts for roasting, I cut the stems off right at the base of the baby cabbages and pull off the outer leaves. Nowadays, instead of chucking the leaves into the trash, I toss them in fat and bake them into crunchy chips. (Please discard the really wilty ones.) My thrifty Chinese mama should be very proud of her number two daughter.
Here’s what to gather to feed 2-4 people:
- 2 cups of Brussels sprout leaves (outer leaves from 2 pounds of sprouts)
- 2 tablespoons of melted ghee
- Kosher salt to taste
- Lemon zest (optional)
Here’s how you make ‘em:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix the leaves, ghee, and salt together in a large bowl.
Line two large baking trays with parchment. Divide the leaves evenly in a single layer on each tray.
Bake each tray for 8-10 minutes or until crispy and brown around the edges.
Microplane some lemon zest over the chips (optional), and…
I’m starting another week of nightshifts tonight, so I was a busy bee this morning and early afternoon.
While the kids ate their breakfast, I threw the ingredients for Paleo Korean short ribs into my slow cooker.
Even Lil-O jumped in to help me make the simmer sauce.
When we came home from dropping Big-O at school, I ate some mini frittata muffins, roasted bell peppers, and baby carrots for breakfast.
Then, we set off for Whole Paycheck to get some last minute groceries.
For lunch, I made myself the same type of frittata I had for breakfast yesterday.
After lunch, I whipped up some garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes with my older sous chef…
…and then I took a nap for a couple of hours.
When I woke up, the short ribs were finished…
…so I reheated the garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes…
…sautéed a bunch of Bordeaux spinach with shallots in butter…
…and roasted Brussels sprouts in ghee with Penzeys Shallot-Pepper seasoning (splashed with some balsamic vinegar).
Here’s my dinner plate:
After dinner, I did the CrossFit “Christine” workout in my garage, which left me sore, winded, and sweaty. My post workout meal was half a baked sweet potato and a few slices of roasted turkey deli meat.
Then, I took a shower, gathered up my stuff, and went to work.
Dr. Seuss would be damn proud. Dinner was on the table in 30 minutes and afterwards, there was only one skillet to wash.
Earlier in the day, I followed the recipe in Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Vegetable Recipes for shallow blanched collard greens. That way they’d be ready to sauté off when I got home. Also, I thinly sliced up a whole onion and trimmed and halved a ½ pound of Brussels sprouts. I put all my prepped veggies in the fridge and went out to Costco. Remember? I love me some Costco.
After my Costco run, I wanted dinner ASAP. As soon as I came home, I preheated my toaster oven to 400 F; tossed my prepared sprouts with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper; and put the sprouts in the oven.
Then, I took out my cast iron skillet and sautéed the sliced onions in some lard.
While the onions softened, I sliced up a few slices of leftover baked ham
and diced my blanched collard greens.
Once the onions were translucent, I added three cloves of minced garlic and mixed that around for ~30 seconds. I added the chopped ham and stirred that around to give it a little color. Then, I added the chopped blanched collard greens and ¼ cup of low sodium chicken broth. After mixing everything in the skillet, I covered it for 2 minutes to warm everything. I tasted the greens and swine for seasoning and added a splash of sherry vinegar.
I removed the Brussels sprouts from the toaster oven (it took around 20 minutes) and drizzled them with aged balsamic vinegar. Then, I quickly rinsed my skillet, added some butter and fried up a couple of eggs for Fitbomb and myself.
I like me some greens, eggs, and ham.
I’m happy to report that we ate at Star Noodle three times during our stay in West Maui and we didn’t eat noodles once! We definitely have a crush on this restaurant so we chose it as our last dinner on the island.
I spied Sheldon Simeon in the kitchen (I don’t think he was there our other two times) and wondered if dinner would be even better tonight given his presence. I was happy to say that it was, and the platings were especially nice and polished.
Tonight, the new dishes we ordered were:
Spicy Namasu (cucumber, daikon, and carrot with a spicy, Vietnamese-y vinaigrette):
Charbroiled Miso Salmon (alas, a tad over-cooked for my taste):
The oldies but goodies we ordered again were the Ahi Avo, the Rib Eye, Yakitori, Steamed Pork Buns, and Brussels Sprouts.
Fitbomb liked the food so much that he purchased Star Noodle shirts and a baseball cap. Now he can look like an official Star Noodle waiter!