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Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

It seems this will be the last Spin Cycle for awhile; Jen is taking a little vacation from it.  I can understand why – it has to be a huge time commitment on her part to not only come up with a subject every week, but link up to all of the participants and write a post of her own.  I mean, we get to choose whether or not we participate, and Jen does not.

The subject for this final Spin Cycle is “Giving Thanks.”  I hadn’t thought too much about what I was going to write, but then I started to ponder my stress over what to make – and eat – on Thanksgiving Day next week.  And I started to be a tad ashamed of myself.

I’m grateful I have the privilege of being able to worry about what to cook and eat.  I’m grateful I have the time, money, ability and home in which to cook an extravagant meal for my family (that I’m grateful for the family goes without saying, although given some of the unbloggable going on in my life, it probably shouldn’t).  I’m grateful I have the intelligence and resources to be able to make an informed choice about my diet and health.  I’m grateful to have the support of my family and friends, real life and virtual, while I venture down this path of diet that goes so against what passes for conventional wisdom these days.

I’m also grateful for the advice I was given when I sent out my plea for help on Tuesday.  In the end, I took a little bit of everyone’s advice – I’m making a few traditional dishes, reworking some of them to fit in with our new way of eating, and including new dishes like this one.  And boy, am I grateful for this recipe – it is now my favorite Brussels sprouts dish.  As written, it only serves 3, so I’ll double it on Turkey Day.

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

serves 3

2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

10 ounces fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons. unsalted butter

Kosher or sea salt

Heat a heavy, 10″ saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat; slowly cook the pancetta in 1 tablespoon of the oil until golden and crisp all over, 10 to 15 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the fat behind; add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil.  Increase the heat to medium-high heat and arrange the sprouts, cut side down, in a single layer.   Cook undisturbed until nicely browned, 4 to 5 minutes (watch carefully so they don’t burn). When the sprouts are browned, add the water to the pan, cover immediately, and simmer until the sprouts are fork tender, about 6 or 7 minutes. (If the water evaporates before the sprouts get tender, add more water, 1/4 cup at a time.) Transfer the sprouts to a plate.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and boil off any remaining water. Add the balsamic vinegar and a few grinds of pepper.  Bring the vinegar to a boil and cook, swirling the sauce in the pan, until it’s reduced by half and looks lightly syrupy, about 1 or 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the butter, and stir until melted. Return the sprouts and pancetta to the pan and gently toss to evenly coat the sprouts with the sauce. Season to taste with salt and more pepper and serve.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Brussels Sprouts on Foodista


19 comments

Mama Badger says:

We’re having two Thanksgivings this year. The one with the fam, which will have all the traditional fixings. We want to do a mini one at home though (for the left overs!) This is going into that category.

Sometimes it’s really hard to look up from what’s going on around you and choose to be grateful for what you have. Things continue to be tough all around us. I’m glad you’re finding support in all your dieting endeavors!

Michele says:

While I’m sure this is a fantastic dish but there is not enough bacon (fancy or not) that will get my family to eat Brussels sprouts. For some reason the spousal unit equates them with liver. Another food he won’t willing eat. And truthfully, I won’t make. So we’re all good.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I’m glad to hear you were able to reconcile the menu to fit the new lifestyle.

I’m SO not a Brussel Sprouts person, but hubby loves them – so I might have to add this to my list’o’yummy food for Thanksgiving…bet he’ll be a happy camper! Then he can eat them along with the nasty canned cranberry sauce I shudder when I look at… As long as he’s happy, I’m happy! ;)

Can’t wait to hear all about your Thanksgiving – you are blessed to have family all around! :)

Pseudo says:

I’m grateful for you Jan ; -) Not only have I enjoyed your humor and intelligence the last two years, now I get to benefit from your research, knowledge, and application of food choices that I have been meaning to go towards in my own life.

I bought grass fed beef from Whole Foods last week and made Beef Bourg with it. It turned out amazing.

Sorry there is unbloggable and sending warm aloha to help you through it.

Pseudo says:

PS I usually eat my brussels with creamy horseradish, but would love to try this recipe.

I’ve hated brussels sprouts my entire life, but between this recipe and the one Bobby Flay used on his throwdown with The Pioneer Woman last night, I think I might be ready to try them again. Maybe I’ve just never had them prepared the RIGHT way?

Lisa says:

Sounds delicious. I roast mine with pancetta and lemon but it’s quite similar in taste I bet. Yum.

Lori says:

I love your gratefulness dear friend…I am grateful to be called your friend and to benefit from all your smarts and wisdom. I am sorry that you have been experiencing unbloggable things as of late. Even though we all have those things, it still makes me sad that you do. I too, am grateful for the things you are in regards to whole subject of food. Just the fact that we can pick and choose what we prepare to eat in our kitchens is something to be thankful for. Bless you dear woman…this recipe looks and sounds marvelous…add it to my list of things to make from your recipes that you so kindly share with us. Sending love and hugs to you my friend. Hope today is full of kindness. XX

For the first part, thank you. Just thank you. (I’m a little emotional this week and you may have sent me over the edge a tad.) :-)
I actually am a brussels sprouts fan. We have them every year for Thanksgiving, but my mom’s best friend always makes them with just plain butter. Balsamic would rock this dish, I can see the flavors combining perfectly for it, and then Pseudo’s comment about horseradish sauce? Oh yeah!
Just yum. Doesn’t even need the pork. So good!
Thanks for spinning and I thinks I wills be trying this recipe!
You’re linked! (And loved.)

VandyJ says:

Nick and I like brussel sprouts, steamed, or fried. This sounds heavenly–might have to try it next week with our untraditional thanksgiving dinner. Thank you for the great recipes you share with us–always gets me in the mood to try new stuff in the kitchen.

AndreAnna says:

This is so nuts! I had a Brussels Sprouts one last week – you have one this week AND I am posting ANOTHER this week in time for T-Day!

We should declare this National Brussels Sprouts week.

I LOVE this recipe and can’t wait to try it!

Peg says:

I am not a brussels sprout fan but that actually looks delish! I might have to broaden my horizons…

Jane Gaston says:

Not a huge brussels sprouts fan either but your receipe does sound yummy. So glad you’re looking forward to another wonderful Thanksgiving with family, despite unbloggable thingies. Have a great one Jan!

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Gretchen says:

This year, in a major break with tradition, we’re going to Jimmy’s cousins house instead of having Thanksgiving at our house (and it’s freaking me out). But I’m supposed to bring a couple of dishes with me to the cousins, and I think this is the perfect time to do your brussels sprouts! I may need to multiply it by 10 or so. Can’t wait! I’ll let you know how it goes over.

Shiela says:

I LOVE brussel sprouts – I will be trying the above recipe! Thx for sharing!

Linda says:

My husband never ate brussels sprouts until I roasted them in the oven with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Now he really enjoys them. The above recipe is very similar to what we had yesterday for Thanksgiving, but with the addition of chopped figs…so delicious!

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