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Quick-braised Brussels sprouts with pancetta

Two Sundays ago I did something I normally don’t even do on Thanksgiving. I roasted a turkey. Not a whole turkey, mind you, but a whole turkey breast, which I’d brined all night.

If you’re like me, and tend to crave turkey when it’s definitely not Turkey Day, purchasing a breast from the store is an easy way to get your fix and also have meat to spare for lunches and subsequent dinners.

But to accompany the turkey, I made something both a little healthy, and a little decadent: Brussels sprouts with pancetta. It’s the tail end of the Brussels season, but I saw some that looked good at the market and decided to go for it.

If you think you hate Brussels sprouts or simply want a new way to prepare them, this recipe is a good place to start. Cooked in rendered pancetta fat and a splash of white wine and vegetable stock, this side dish has a hearty flavor but is super simple to make. Along with my roasted turkey, it was about as Sunday Dinner as you can get.

Quick-braised Brussels sprouts with pancetta

  • 1″ thick slice of pancetta, cut into large (~3/4″) cubes
  • 20 Brussels sprouts, loose outer leaves torn off, stems trimmed, and cut in half
  • –extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • –freshly ground black pepper to season

Add the pancetta to a large skillet (I used a big soup pot because all my skillets were dirty!), and turn the heat to medium low. You’ll want to render the meat slowly, to extract as much of the fat as possible without cooking the pancetta too quickly.  This can take a while, maybe even ten to fifteen minutes.

Once the pancetta has browned and has given up a lot of its fat, remove the pieces to a small bowl and set aside. Drain the pan so that you have about two to three tablespoons of fat left (the bottom of the pan should look nicely coated). If you don’t want to use only animal fat to cook the vegetables, you can drain out all the fat and use olive oil instead.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and turn the heat up to medium high to brown them. Stir the sprouts around every minute or so. Once the sprouts have browned nicely, deglaze the pan with the white wine, and stir. Season with black pepper. (I didn’t use any added salt to this recipe, as my pancetta was particularly salty, but taste as you go and decide if you need to add salt.)

Once the white wine has cooked down to almost dry, add in the vegetable stock and the pancetta. Reduce heat to medium, and cook at a steady simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated and the sprouts are cooked through.

6 Responses

  1. That looks delicious! I hope to make it soon.

  2. Hmmm!! Sounds so good. I love doing Brussel sprouts and pancetta too, but I add some toasted pine nuts and maple syrup. A little less healthy, but super yummy. Your pictures are making me hungry!

    ~ Julie

  3. This sounds delicious! I am going to be sad when all the restaurants stop serving brussels sprouts soon.

  4. I just ate dinner, but this is making me hungry!!!

  5. I actually really enjoy brussel sprouts. They’re kinda stinky at first though, right? And they do take kinda long to cook. With pancetta sounds deeeeelicious.

  6. Can’t wait to try this recipe!! People think I’m crazy cause I love brussel sprouts. Glad to find someone who likes them too :)

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