A simple yet elegant side dish of Brussels spouts sautéed with bacon and shallots, and tossed with blue cheese and pomegranate. A recipe worthy of your holiday meal.
Occasionally I fall into a rut. Ruts can be a varied and sordid affair, ranging from general self-loathing to avoidance behaviors of all things requiring me to scrub. Conversely, they aren’t necessarily all bad. For example, there are instances where a dinner rut can taste very, very good.
It was in such a rut that I found myself recently. In fact, I am still wallowing in the furrow, for it holds a great deal of seared Brussels sprouts and pomegranates. I am simply unwilling to give them up just yet and rather prefer to find every excuse imaginable to continue to serve them repeatedly.
I have glazed them in honey, shredded them over prime rib style portabellas, hashed them under eggs, and still I seek out new ways to pair the two and eat them in tandem. For Christmas. Yuletide. And New Year’s. The day after Christmas (also the first day of Kwanzaa). Without bacon for Hanukkah. Saint Nicholas Day. The Winter Solstice. St. Lucia’s Day (today).
Clearly I have an overabundance of Brussels in my life, and I am grateful for it. Having what I need, I often find it hard to fill in Christmas wish lists. Ever practical, I choose to have my children delight in simple treasures: new pajamas, filling the shelves of our ever-expanding library, crisp journals, crayons to color our lives full with the pictures of their imaginations, and the gift of giving. Last year our family chose to give to another family, one not feeling the overabundance of the holiday season. The premise is simple: Through the World Vision Gift Catalog you can select a gift directly to give families and children in need items like a goat, a well for clean drinking water, chickens, medicine, funding for education. It was one of my favorite things to do, watching my kids discuss the merits of one gift over the other until we settled on a goat.
Another way to give is by purchasing a Maximum Impact gift, choosing a gift from the catalog to give to a loved one here, the proceeds going to benefit a family in need. The catalog has a selection of items including artisan jewelry, fair-trade coffee, handmade scarves, and these handcrafted serving spoons (pictured below). They make wonderful presents for the people on your list, the kind that fill more than the space beneath the tree and continue to give. This season, I hope you’ll consider giving a gift from World Vision.
Crisp bacon and shallots flavor the nutty green orbs, cooked just enough to preserve a bit of their crunch, but shedding any bitterness that some might associate with them and then seared crisp and golden. Pungent blue cheese contrasts the sweet, tangy pomegranate arils bursting with juice as you bite in. I may have eaten the entire plate myself and shared not even a forkful with the other members of my family. I suppose I’ll be forced to make these again so that I may pass around the superfluous sprouts.
2 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon pieces over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until just beginning to crisp. Add in the shallots and stir to incorporate before adding in the Brussels sprouts*. Sprinkle lightly with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until Brussels sprouts are golden brown around the edges and on the flat side. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over the top and stir until the water is absorbed into a natural sauce.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the blue cheese. Pour the sprouts into the serving dish. Sprinkle with pomegranate arils and serve immediately.
*If the bacon is extra lean and you aren’t left with much grease, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of oil or butter to the pan before adding in the Brussels sprouts. Aim for 2 tablespoons of oil/bacon grease total in the pan before adding in the sprouts.
Makes 4 side dish servings.