November 21, 2012
A Wild Side Dish for Thanksgiving: Honey-Bacon Brussels Sprouts
By David Draper
On the Thanksgiving table, the centerpiece turkey and potatoes—both sweet and mashed—get all the glory. Sure, there are some green things scattered here and there, maybe a tossed salad and the ubiquitous green bean casserole, but they’re mostly footnotes to the dynamic meat-and-potato duo. Still, there are those of us who appreciate a good green vegetable, and one of my favorites this time of year is that cabbage-in-miniature: Brussels sprout.
Even as a kid I loved these little crunchy orbs, and I willingly ate them when my mom put them in front of me. Mostly they were just steamed or boiled, seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper, but I loved the crunch and cabbage-y taste then, and still do today. Now, I dress them up a bit and generally cook them in a very hot oven for a relatively short time. This adds a rich, roasted flavor, especially when tossed with bacon grease and honey and sprinkled with crunchy bacon, as detailed in this simple recipe.
Honey-Bacon Brussels Sprouts
-Four slices bacon
-1 lb. Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
-1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat a large, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, fry the bacon until it is crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Carefully pour bacon fat into a heatproof container, reserving 1 1/2 tbsp. in the pan.
Add the cleaned and halved Brussels sprouts to the pan and toss with the reserved fat. Drizzle the sprouts with honey and transfer the pan to the oven. (If you don’t have a cast-iron or oven-proof pan, you can toss everything together in a casserole or other baking dish.)
Roast the sprouts for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove when they are tender and crisp.
Crumble the reserved bacon, sprinkle onto the sprouts, and serve.