Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Walnuts, and Cranberries

Cranberry love <3

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December 15, 2020

Prep: 15min

Cook: 25min

Serves: 4

The gist.

Brussels sprouts with bacon is a tried and true combination. To that foundation you’ll add cranberries, walnuts, jalapeño, and a honey mustard dressing for a final product rich in both flavor and texture.

Last month I was at the grocery store and noticed that fresh cranberries were on sale. It feels weird to have to modify the word “cranberries” with “fresh”, but I’ll admit my mind immediately paints a mental image of Craisins and blobs of canned sauce when I hear the word “cranberries.” Anyway, I bought the bag of on-sale cranberries. I had a vague idea of a dish I wanted to make with brussels sprouts, and the cranberries were the inspiration I needed to start putting the recipe together.

Have you ever eaten a raw cranberry? Woah. When I popped one in my mouth and bit into it, I was immediately rushed back to elementary school playground days when me and my friends would dig Warheads out of our pockets and bust up laughing over the ridiculous faces we were making as our little seven-year-old taste buds were coated with the intense sourness. If you like sour, eat a raw cranberry.

I have something to say about the color profile of this dish. To my color-blind eyes, the pan of green and red looks nothing but normal. My friend, however, told me that the color combination looks “festive.” With ten days left until Christmas, I think you’ll find this dish is the perfect addition to the holly and ivy hanging above your dinner table, the elf costume you may or may not be wearing, and the fir tree in your living room decorated with red ornaments.

About the actual recipe. This is a brussels sprouts recipe with a wide range of flavors. The bulk of the dish is made up of brussels sprouts. Before adding anything else, you will cook them until they begin to caramelize, adding a sweet, slightly-charred taste to the overall dish. Then we have bacon, one of the most common brussels sprouts pairings. The bacon provides a salty, savory addition. If you’re very short on time or ingredients, you could stop here and be happy. It’s hard to go wrong with brussels sprouts and bacon. You, however, are dedicated. So you’re not stopping here, riggggght?

Add walnuts and suddenly the texture of the dish improves dramatically. The earthy, nutty flavor is a bonus as well. What makes this dish really shine is the cranberries. From what I’ve read, overcooking cranberries can cause an overly bitter flavor experience. This is why you’ll only cook them for the last ten minutes on the stovetop. As they cook, they will soften. The overall result will be a tangy flavor that fits perfectly with the caramelized brussels sprouts.

At the very end of cooking you will add the dressing. The quantity of dressing is not intended to drown the ingredients in the skillet, but you can always scale up on ingredients when making the dressing if you feel like the dish needs more.

This is one of those recipes where I consider every ingredient to be extremely important when it comes to the overall flavor. I’m definitely guilty of omitting one or two ingredients when following a recipe because I don’t have it on hand or don’t want to buy it at the grocery store. If possible, don’t make that mistake with this recipe. Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

Ingredients

  • Dressing
  • Brussels Sprouts

Steps

(click each step as you go to keep track of your progress)

  • Dressing
  • Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Walnuts, and Cranberries

  • Prep time: 15min
  • Cook time: 25min
  • Serving size: 4
Brussels sprouts with bacon is a tried and true combination. To that foundation you’ll add cranberries, walnuts, jalapeño, and a honey mustard dressing for a final product rich in both flavor and texture.

INGREDIENTS

  • *Dressing
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 30 mL (2 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • *Brussels Sprouts
  • 225 g (1/2 lb) bacon
  • 550 g (1.25 lbs) brussels sprouts
  • 1 large shallot
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) fresh cranberries
  • 1 large jalepeño
  • 100 g (3/4 cup) walnuts, chopped
  • 15 mL (1 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

STEPS

  1. *Dressing

  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients (honey, mustard, oil, vinegar) into a small bowl and whisk until homogeneous.

  3. *Brussels Sprouts

  4. Wash the brussels sprouts, remove damaged leave, and use a knife to remove most of the tough stem. Don't cut the stem completely off, or the layers of leaves will be more likely to separate. Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise from tip to stem.

  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for 5-7 minutes, or until bacon is cooked and beginning to crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the grease in the skillet. You will be cooking the brussels sprouts in the bacon grease, so feel free to remove excess grease if it seems like there is too much.

  6. When the bacon is cool, chop it in to bite-size pieces.

  7. Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the brussels sprouts to the skillet. Try to position them in a single layer, cut side down. Allow to cook undisturbed for seven minutes, only flipping the brussels sprouts if necessary to avoid burning.

  8. Reduce heat to medium. Add the 1 Tbsp of olive oil, the shallot, cranberries, and jalapeño. Cook for seven minutes, stirring occasionally.

  9. Add the bacon, walnuts, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook for two minutes, stirring frequently.

  10. Pour the dressing into the skillet and stir for one minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and serve immediately.

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