Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Autumn Sonata...Brussel Sprouts With Bacon & Figs

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I have searched high and low for a good recipe for brussel sprouts and about a month ago I found it in the Minimalist column.  Mark Bitman is sheer genius when it comes to simplifying things and I am only sorry it took me so long to start reading him.  You see, I grew up with Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey and somehow Bittman's recipes just  looked too simple,and well, minimalistic.  I wanted more complicated dishes, for in my mind, that is the only way they would taste good...wrong!  Now when I pick one of the old cookbooks, I have to laugh at such titles as Simple and Quick Meals in an Hour!

I tried this recipe this past Christmas and my daughter and I just loved it.  It was a close second to our favorite chestnut soup and  it was a terrific compliment to the duck and wild rice.  Shredding the sprouts does wonders for the taste and texture of the dish and the balsamic vinegar is sheer genius.  I substituted dried cranberries for figs for a more festive look and can' t wait to try it with figs next time. If you like brussel sprouts, you will love this recipe!

Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

 4 to 8 ounces bacon, chopped

1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed

1 cup dried figs, stemmed and quartered

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or more to taste.


1. Put a large skillet over medium heat and add oil, then bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, put sprouts through feed tube of a food processor equipped with a slicing attachment and shred. (You can also do this with a mandoline or a knife.)

3. Add sprouts, figs and 1/4 cup water to pan; sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn heat to medium, and cook, undisturbed, until sprouts and figs are nearly tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until any remaining water evaporates, another 5 to 10 minutes. Add vinegar, taste, adjust seasoning and serve.


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