Brussel Sprouts

The Brussels Sprouts of the Gods

if you think you don't like brussels sprouts, think again
Eater rating: 4.8 / 5  4.765

Here we go again! These brussels sprouts are one of the fabulous sides we enjoyed for thanksgiving dinner. The sprouts were sauteed in yummy bacon fat, deglazed with red wine vinegar, then tossed with homemade spiced walnuts, crispy bacon, and creamy danish bleu cheese. Unless you’re just not in to brussels sprouts, you are guaranteed to like this puppies!

T: it’s impressive that you can sit down and write a recipe a week after thanksgiving for something you made on thanksgiving. My memory is not so good. If I were trying to write something about what I did a week ago it would go like this… “uhhh… I did stuff.”
A: hehehe :-) well ya see timmy… my trick is, i write down all the ingredients and amounts i use while i’m cooking, then, all i have to do is write the instruction part. that’s not too much for me to remember! most of it is on paper… just not saved on the compute.
T: that’s nice, but my name’s not timmy. Not that there’s anything wrong with the name timmy, it’s just not for me. that’s a badass idea to write the ingredients as you go, but it seems like that would be a real drag during an involved cook session.
A: well, if i were to write down the info directly after each step (and before the the next step) it would be an incredible pain in my ass. fortunately, at my ripe old age of 26, i still have enough short term memory left that i can remember what i’ve done for at least five minutes! serioulsy, maybe if i’ve had my ginko i could remember stuff for six minutes, maybe ;-) generally in five minutes i can find a decent time to jot some info down without ruining the meal!
T: that’s a more helpful tip than Rachael Ray telling you to carry the entire contents of your fridge over to the counter all at one time so you don’t waste precious time going back and forth and back and forth to the fridge. I mean, all those trips to the fridge can start to wear on a person.
A: i know, the three or four feet and two seconds it takes me to traverse our entire kitchen is a huge time killer! think of all the seconds i could save if i were more like good ol’ rach…
T: Probably dozens of seconds, over the course of a few months.
A: dozens of seconds i will never have back, t. NEVER. If i’d only listened to Rachael Ray….
T: yeah, and those dozens of seconds could add up to like 10 minutes in your lifetime… think about that… that’s just enough time to tell your loved ones goodbye.
A: damn man. this is just too deep for me. i think we need to lighten up the conversation some, hommie.
T: ok, maybe talking about the food that this post is about would be a good way to do that. Mmmmm… brussels sprouts… mmmmmmm… I don’t say “mmm” with that many m’s to just any pile of brussel sprouts. These were fantastic. If anybody thinks they don’t like brussels sprouts, they need to try, try again. And again until they get it.
A: i know! seriously… wtf, man. brussels sprouts are soooo kick ass. just the other day my own freaking sister told me she doesn’t like brussels sprouts! how can this be?!?! i think i may be adopted.
T: no, I think she was adopted. Maybe they found her left behind a dumpster.
A: perhaps even a dumpster filled with brussel sprouts! thus the aversion to them!
T: If there was ever a dumpster filled with brussel sprouts, that would be quite… odd. So, the question for your sister is, does she like cabbage?
A: that is the same thing i asked her! and she said, yes. i just don’t get it. things that make you go “hmm….”
T: things that make you go “what’s wrong with your sister?” Brussels sprouts are just lil’ wee cabbages. Unless you really screw em up (which I would do if I cooked them) they’re wonderful mini cabbage treats!
A: i totally agree… except with the part about you screwing them up! they are soooooo easy, you could totally rock the sprouts!
T: well, how would I avoid making the bitter like some people complain about?
A: frankly, i just don’t think they are bitter. my sister says that’s why she doesn’t like them, but i just don’t see anything bitter about them! just little bundles of mini-cabbage joy is all i see.
T: well now that we’ve proven beyond a reasonable doubt that brussel sprouts are awesome, I’d like to bring up the bleu cheese and bacon that was in these particular sprouts…
A: oh yes! and the delicious spiced nuts! this was definately a recipe inspired by one of the dishes my old mentor, bobby, used to make at harvest. i never did learn how to make his spiced nuts, but i think these really rocked for me.
T: Me too. I give them a 4.78/5. They were just so good. In fact, I ate quite a few of these before we sat down for dinner. And that was a good thing, and I would do it again. What’s your rating?
A: i totally have to agree with you on this. there seem to stick out as one of my favs from the dinner (although i imagine i’ll be saying that again in another t-day post). I give them a 4.666 they were wickedly good! okay, i just wanted to say that… i actually give them a 4.75/5. i don’t really know what i would do to improve these babies…
T: yeah, that would be hard to do. I guess maybe making more of them would help. That’s just an idea.
A: a good idea, at that! :-) while we’re on the topic of brussels sprouts and cabbage, i just want to spill the beans about my sauerkraut endeavor. bobby and i have been emailing back and forth talking about ‘kraut recently (i swear i’m gonna email you soon b-ster). so today i bought the cabbage necessary… i also bought some brussels sprouts to add to the mix, so i think i’m gonna make some non-traditional kraut with green cabbage, sprouts, a jalapeno (for a kick), and some garlic. i’m stoked!
T: holy crap I’m stoked too! I can’t believe you’ve been hiding this from me. I mean, I knew you were going to make some kraut but I didn’t know you and Bobby were going back and forth about it. Hells yeah.
A: welll… not so much back and forth… maybe just back then forth once, maybe twice. it’s been mentioned more than a time or two. i just keep thinking about it! i’ve had rotten cabbage on the brain.
T: I’ve got it on my brain too… so, sauerkraut is rotten cabbage, eh. Is that going to stink up the apartment and make my life a living hell?
A: hells yeah! you’re going to be miserable for then next month-
T: nice. really nice, mandy. :-P Well, at least you’re giving it to me straight.
A: no prob, t-gravy! (and just for the record, kraut is called “fermented” not rotten… i just like to say rotten)
T: hmmm.. is it really going to stink? :-|
A: :-D heheheh it’s going to smell like wonderful fermenting cabbage! it’s gonna be great!
T: i’m afraid.

An Original Brussels Sprouts Recipe, by Amanda
Brussels Sprouts with Spiced Walnuts, Bacon, and Bleu Cheese

1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2-3 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
4 thick slices bacon
2/3 cup spiced nuts, hand crumbled (recipe follows)
1 tbsp peanut oil (or other mild flavored vegetable oils)
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the bacon and cook until most of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon and allow the bacon to drain on paper towels, set aside for later, and crumble once cool. Drain off all but one tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet, then add the peanut oil to the remaining bacon fat and turn the heat to medium/med-high. Once the skillet has had time to reheat, add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat with oil, then season with salt and pepper. Saute the brussels sprouts for about 10-15 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and caramelized, stirring occasionally. Deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar, stirring and scrapping the botom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get up all those yummy caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Taste one of the sprouts to check the seasoning level, then adjust as necessary with salt and pepper - although remember you will be adding bacon and bleu cheese and thus more sodium. Add the crumbled bacon and spiced nuts to the pan and stir. Add the bleu cheese, then immediately remove the sprouts from the pan. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Spiced Walnuts

2/3 walnuts
1 tbsp molassas
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, stir together all the dry spices. Stir in molassas, then add walnuts. Toss the mixture to coat the nuts. Spread the walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 for 10 to 15 minutes until the nuts have toasted and the seasonings have caramelized. Halfway through baking stir the nuts for more even coloring. Remove from oven and allow nuts to cool before eating or using. Enjoy!

30 comments so far:

  1. bobby says:

    Have you ever had Cane syrup vinegar? Its to die for, sweet and tart! lol

  2. bobby says:

    I would ferment the cabage by itself, and when its done, oh what the hell, it’ll be like kraut kimchee. I may get brave and if my BS plants ever produce, I may try to ferment the BS, talk about stinky. Did I ever confirm the salt:cabbage ratio for you? 25# uncleaned cabbage( the dirty outer leaves, core and whatnot, to 8 oz. kosher salt, and it does stink, like a high school locker room in the summer. let me know if you need more info, and make sure you put something heavy on top of the cabbage, like 5 or 6 plates to keep it down in the liquid, and it will produce some liquid, and browish scummy foam, but it sure tastes like love

  3. Tyler says:

    OMG I’m afraid. ;-)

  4. Amanda says:

    bobby, you know, i’ve spent several hours for the past few nights reading about making sauerkraut (you know all my free time), so i think i’m good, although its great to have a first hand individual to reference with questions… i just wish it were a wee bit colder here… i’ve read that kraut tends to taste better when left to ferment in the cold… albeit, it takes longer, but i’m down if that means more of a “crunch” and a better flavor… i think i’m good to go as far as weights are concerned, but as far as the smell! i’m just hoping tyler doesn’t realize what i’m getting him into until it’s too late! oh yeah, btw, i think i have had cane vinegar… and let me just say, yeah. totally to die for. i wish i didn’t love vinegars as much as do (especially since t isn’t fond of the smell of them). I’m not afraid to announce it to the world: I LOVE VINEGAR!

  5. aria says:

    ye gods! look at all the perfect charred bits. those looks tadaifooa. realllly delish mmmmmmm!!! (5.0)

  6. rachel says:

    I love it! Anything with bacon!!

  7. Lea says:

    -OMG-

    I love me some brussels!! And so does me Brit!! ^_^ And CHEESE!! WOOOOOOT! Gimme gimme gimme.

    I am so making this. And blogging it. so nyeh.

  8. Nicole says:

    Oh. My. God. I’ve gotta try this!

  9. Vanessa says:

    I think they look tasty. My genius husband (who does not like brussels, because of a childhood filled with overcooked frozen vegs) says “you can add bacon and cheese to anything and it’ll be delicious”. Wait, am I married to Homer Simpson?

  10. Kalyn says:

    So, so fabulous. I must have some. (And Amanda, I do it just like that, write down the amounts and ingredients when I’m cooking, take photos, and sometimes don’t blog about it for weeks.)

  11. bobby says:

    That’s all i did for the nuts, basically. I used cane syrup, but i’m fond of cane and its byproducts. I may have a recipe around here somewhere, but you’ve got he gist of it….

  12. Anna says:

    My grandmother makes the greatest pickled/fermented cabbage. I guess that’s not exactly the same thing as kraut… or it’s the Russian version of it because I don’t remember bad smells. That could also be nostalgia talking. I admire your perseverence in the face of smelly adversity. The brussel sprout and cabbage mix sounds awesome. Looking forward to your recipe! Oh, and the brussel sprouts you made put any I have had to shame.

  13. vince says:

    wow Amanda, this look really yummy.. I am sure u guys had a wonderful thanksgiving dinner.

    I miss home cook food so much… will try your recipe :P

    btw the Queerchef says hi

  14. Anne says:

    Ooh, that sounds – and looks – just amazing. I love brussel sprouts – and nuts, and cheese and vinegar and.. yeah, this should be a great dish :)

  15. Jackson Kah says:

    What a nice blog!!! It’s like a culinaire tour ! Love it!!

  16. Claire says:

    That recipe sounds awesome! I love brussel sprouts and love the idea of doing something a bit different with them!

  17. Amanda says:

    okay everybody, i just did a really stupid thing: i had written a really thing of comments to you guys and then right before i responded to claire, i clicked on her link to see what her site was and… POOF! there goes my many paragraphs of comments! man, am i stupid. :-P i swear i’m going to rewrite the comments again… i just don’t have it in me right now!

  18. Ellen says:

    Hi Amanda and Tyler,
    I just found you by “stumbling” and I think your blog is FABULOUS!! The writing is so normal and the pictures are excellent and the main part, the recipes and your knowledge about cooking is GREAT!
    I will put you on my favorites and come back to your recipes when I need something awesome. By the way, my family and I live on Cape Cod. My sister in laws are both wonderful cooks and I am not…only because I never spent time on it. I want to surprise them this Christmas with one of your dishes. Can’t wait!

  19. ghee says:

    greetings from japan!!

    it looks soo yummy…

    the queer chef pimped me here!!

    have a lovely week :)

  20. keiko says:

    Hi Amanda – I LOVE brussels sprouts (don’t understand why people hate them!) and this looks utterly delicious! Thank for the recipe, oh and I love the new banner, you both look great :)

  21. michellephant says:

    I cannot believe you got so many comments on a freaking Brussels sprout recipe! I think Brussels sprouts smell like feet. They are a food so vile not even bacon can save them…and if you notice, almost all recipes for BS call for bacon to try and mask the feet smell! Ew!

  22. Amanda says:

    first i just want to apologize for how bad i’ve been about responding! we had an out-of-town visitor that consumed allllllll of our time! (in a good way, i mean :-) )

    aria, a 5.0!?!? who ever heard of such a thing! but thanks! (and yeah, they were totally tadiafooa)

    you said it rachel! anything with bacon = fantastic in my book! hmmmm…. i would even be open minded to bacon ice cream, but it might be a stretch ;-)

    i can’t wait, lea! you’ll have to be honest about how you think they turn out, it’s not everyday i get someone to blog something i make! it’s like having a personal test kitchen :-D

    nicole, you would totally love it! and it’s super easy.

    vanessa, even if you are married to homer simpson ( btw, there’s nothing wrong with being a part of the simpson family ;-) ) your husband is on to something. cheese and bacon really to make everything taste good! just not so good for the old ticker…. you should makes these, blind fold your hubby then feed them to him. maybe he wouldn’t even realize he was eating his nemesis!

    thanks kalyn! that really is the best tip to give someone who is just starting recipe writing! when i don’t right stuff down, i have no chance at the recipe!

    bobby, i wanted to snag some of your recipes when i left, but you know my brainlessness (and that i was crazy sick when i was moving). i’ve been pretty successful just working with the flavors i remember from the dishes. my current fascination with molassas comes from me having just bought a jar and finding ways to use it up!

    anna, you should totally get the recipe from your grandmother and blog it! i’m really into trying to learn different regional dishes and would love it if i had a grandmother that cooked russian food! (then again, maybe i wouldn’t find it to be so exciting and “regional” since i would have grown up with it) i still haven’t started the kraut yet, but sooon, my pretty, soon. there will definately be a recipe…. assuming it doesn’t come out like total crap. :-)

    thanks vince! home cooked meal is SO necessary!

    why thank you anne! it really is hard to go wrong with such a tasty ingredient list…

    jackson, we definately appreciate you stopping in for a visit!

    ellen! that is so cool! i don’t think we’ve ever had someone comment who happened to “stumble” here! and we of course love that you’re gonna come back and visit us, right? you’re gonna come back? pleeeaaaase? :-P it would be super if you used one of my recipes for christmas! i would however, stay away from the pumpkin muffin recipe, on women told us she back a lot and they didn’t come out well at all for her. they did for me! but not for her… so anyway, i just want whatever you make to turn out well!

    greetings from the usa, ghee! and thank you!

    hi keiko! :-D long time no see! it’s awesome you love the banner! we’ve definately gotten mixed reviews (although we absolutely love it). while the sprouts are nothing fancy they were great tasting! one day i hope to achieve your photos, plating and craftsmanship, but i’m not quite there yet! at least i have something to strive for!

  23. Amanda says:

    hehehe michelle, you crack me up! :-D i’m guessing you don’t like cabbage either! they look, taste and smell like little cabbages! most of the time i cook brussels sprouts i just roast them with salt, pepper, and olive oil! no bacon at all! t & i absolutely love them! when was the last time you had one of these delicious foot-smelling sprouts?!?

  24. susan says:

    Hi, guys, Don’t know how I even came across your site (at 1 a.m., I can’t remember back that many “pages” ago), but sure glad I found it. Have been reading all your comments and recipes and checking out Tyler’s pictures for a couple hours now…much more interesting than sleeping. The Brussel sprout recipe looks fantastic and the pumpkin pie and lots of other ones too! Thanks for all the “work” you are doing on here and the fun you are obviously having with it.
    Susan in GA

  25. Patricia says:

    How many servings does this make?

  26. Amanda says:

    depends on how large your servings are! ;-) should be enough for 4 side dishes. possibly more if you don’t like brussels sprouts or less if you love them!

  27. Becca says:

    Do you think it will work well without the bacon? I’m looking for a rocking side dish for Thanksgiving, but there will be several vegetarians and I don’t want to make something they won’t eat.

  28. Amanda says:

    Hi Becca! I’m sure it will still be good without the bacon… just not AS good…. I mean, nothing is really quite as good without bacon, right? ;-)

  29. Ilene says:

    OMG!!! I was craving brussel sprouts (i’m wierd, i know), and had recently had them at a pub with blue cheese, so i ran a google search for brussel sprouts and blue cheese and stumbled upon this. as a 20yr+ vegetarian, i tried it without the bacon. i subbed extra peanut oil for the loss of bacon fat – and it was seriously NO loss. So unbelievably delicious! Thank you so much for satisfying my craving!

    PS – I found crumbled blue cheese w/cranberries at trader joes which i used. Great addition!

  30. Amanda says:

    the addition of the cranberry sounds great, Ilene! so glad you enjoyed them!

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