Anyone else out there suffering from a candy hangover? We went through 7 bags of candy this halloween...not like tiny bags either, like 80 piece bags. Leaving us with one bag of delicious Reese's, still in the bowl, staring at me from the front door. Ugh, beat it Reese's, why you so dang tasty? My ill will feelings towards the peanut buttery chocolate treat aside, we had a good turn out Monday night. Not without a hand full of weirdos - including the kid who was definitely at least 17 and not wearing a costume - but lots of families and some really creative costumes. By far the best costume were the twins from The Shining and mom and dad dressed as Jack and Wendy. With the first fall holiday in the books, it's time to take down our 8-ft inflatable scary cat and start planning for the next holiday Thanksgiving!
Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite fall produce selections. Though you can find them throughout the summer, they're just never as good (and probably from far away) as they are in the fall and winter. Particularly the smaller ones are my favorite! Though the thought of mini cabbages are a turn off for vegetable nay-sayers, but truly and honestly, if they are cooked properly you can turn even the biggest sprout skeptic into a supporter. Case in point - my husband. Though he is always a good sport and will eat whatever weird vegetable I am making, he was never a big fan of Brussels Sprouts until I started making them this way.
What makes this recipe stand out in flavor is a combination of texture and flavor. The crispy pancetta provides a slightly salty flavor while contributing a small amount of fat for richness. The shallots offer a subtly sweet onion flavor. The white wine simmers all those tastes into the little sprouts while making them tender. And the final roasting crisps up the leaves just enough so they are still tender but not mushy. The best part is that though it sounds like a lot of moving parts, this recipe is incredibly easy. Especially if you have a lot going on in your oven the day of Thanksgiving. You can certainly make this the day before and just roast for a few minutes the day of the big feast.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
- 2 ounces pancetta (¼" dice)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot (finely diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts (quartered)
- ¼ cup white wine
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and black pepper (for seasoning)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Once pancetta begins to crisp up and brown, add the shallot and chopped garlic. Sauté until shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add brussels sprouts and stir well, allowing the sprouts to soak up the fat from the oil and pancetta. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to slightly char the sprouts on the hot pan. Season with salt and black pepper.
- Add ¼ cup of white wine, stirring the bottom of the pan to release any bits of pancetta that may have stuck. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, stire, and let the wine reduce almost completely.
- For extra crispy sprouts, transfer to a baking sheet. Roast the brussels sprouts at 400°F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until sprouts have a dark roasted color, stirring half way. The leaves should be crispy and the sprouts caramelized.
- For extra crispy sprouts, transfer from the stove top pan to a sheet pan and spread out. The more of the sprout in contact with the surface of the pan, the crispier and more caramelized they will be.
- Stir the sprouts half way through roasting in the oven. The leaves and sprouts on the outer edges of the pan will cook faster.
- To cut the sprouts, trim off the bottom. Remove any dirty or not so great looking out leaves. Cut in half or quarters (I prefer quarters). Keep any clean leaves that fall off (my favorite part, they get so crispy!) and use them with the cut sprouts as you make the recipe.
- You can par-cook this recipe in advance. Follow the steps through all the stove top prep. When ready to heat and serve, just roast in the oven.
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