015 - Brussel Sprouts with Bacon


015 - Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

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Brussels Sprout Leaves with Pancetta and Walnuts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 medium shallot, sliced or minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced thin
1/4 lb. pancetta or thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
2 Tbsps. butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts or sliced almonds)
1 tsp. celery seed
1-2 Tbsp. fresh herbs chopped (parsley, dill, chives, mint, chervil or anything
comparable will do)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp. apple-cider or champagne vinegar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil a large pot (four quarts) of heavily salted water. Core the Brussels sprouts
and trim over-browned or older leaves. Leave them otherwise whole.

When the water has boiled, drop in the sprouts to blanch them. This should take
about 4 minutes. The goal is to get them partially cooked but also to enhance
their color.

After a few minutes, remove them from the water and submerge them in an ice
bath or run them under cold water in a colander. This should stop the cooking
process and set their color to an even brighter green.

After the sprouts have cooled, start peeling the leaves so that you are left with
just the central core of the sprout. Those are fairly tender so you can use them in
that state without chopping them up.

In a large pan or Dutch oven, start cooking the pork over medium heat to render
the fat. You want the bacon/pancetta to crisp without burning. When they reach
that stage, remove them from the pan and drain on paper towels. Retain the pork

Lower the heat and sautee the shallot, garlic and nuts in the pork fat. You want
the shallots to soften without burning the garlic or nuts. Remove the garlic,
shallots and nuts from the pan and retain the remaining pork fat.
Turn the heat up to medium to medium high and toss in the sprout leaves. The
leaves are mostly cooked, so they don't need a lot of time in the pan. You want
them to brown and even char a bit.

Once you see them start to brown/char, add in the chicken stock and vinegar.
Toss everything back in the pan: First add the pork, then the shallots, garlic and
nuts. Stir in the celery seed, salt and pepper to incorporate and then turn off and
remove from heat.

Fold in the butter. Add fresh herbs and taste to see if more vinegar or salt and
pepper should be added.