Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts Tossed in a Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette with Bacon, Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans, & Crispy Shallots

Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts Tossed in a Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette with Bacon, Dried
Cranberries, Candied Pecans, & Crispy Shallots
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, y'all. And it's time to start planning all of the dishes that you're going to make for the big meal. Possibly my favorite part of the dinner are the brussel sprouts. I mean, I'll eat them any which way, honestly. I'm just addicted to the stuff. We cook them a couple different ways, but this recipe is my baby. Now, it might not be my number one because that belongs to a big bowl of deep-fried brussel sprouts, but that can get quite messy, and it's not easy to pull off when trying to feed a huge group. So, to get a similar texture, I pan fry my sprouts in rendered bacon fat until they are golden brown and caramelized, and then I toss them in a homemade maple-mustard vinaigrette, along with lots of bacon, dried cranberries, candied pecans, and crispy shallots. What doesn't sound good about that? Absolutely nothing. I know some people cringe at the thought of brussel sprouts, and to be honest, I used to be one of those people. But then I discovered that I just was not eatin' the right kind. I despise those over-cooked, super-soft, yucky green sprouts. I wanted them al dente with a crispy, browned side. These are perfectly sweet and crisp and fully loaded like a chopped salad. So, yes right now you're thinking to yourself that you don't want to try these, but trust me, you do. You really, really do!! Enjoy :)
For the Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette:
2T Olive Oil
2T Apple Cider Vinegar
4T Maple Syrup
2t Dijon Mustard
2T Grainy Mustard
2t Garlic, Minced
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Candied Pecans:
1 ½C Pecans, Toasted
½C Sugar
Pinch of Salt, Cinnamon, & Cayenne (or to your taste, I did a large pinch)

For the Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts:
4lbs Brussel Sprouts, Trimmed & Halved
1T Olive Oil + 2T Vegetable Oil
10-12 Slices of Applewood Smoked, Thick Cut Bacon, Cut into Cubes & Fried until Crispy
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Prepared Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
½-1C Dried Cranberries
Candied Pecans, Roughly Chopped (save some for garnishing the dish)
Crispy Shallots, For Garnishing (I thinly sliced & pan fried about 4 large shallots)

1. To Make the Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette: In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until combined. Season it with salt & pepper to taste. Refrigerate the dressing aside until ready to add to the brussel sprouts.
2. To Candy the Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes until just toasted. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Meanwhile, pour the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon while the sugar melts. Keep stirring until the color turns a medium amber color. Once that color is reached, add in the pecans to the pan and quickly stir to coat. As soon as they are coated, spread them onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Let them cool completely before adding them to the dish (after they have hardened, you can chose whether or not you want to chop them up or leave them whole).
3. For the Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts: In a large, deep sauté pan, bring the olive oil to medium-high heat and in the bacon cubes. Cook the bacon until they are very crispy and the bacon has rendered all of its fat. Remove the crispy bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add in the vegetable oil (to the rendered bacon fat) and bring it to high heat. Gently place the trimmed brussel sprouts face side down (or the flat side), season with salt & pepper, and cook until they have browned and caramelized, and the side has become slightly crispy in texture, about 10 minutes (depending on your heat). After they have browned, using tongs, toss the brussel spouts to continue sautéing to cook the brussel sprouts all the way through, about 3-5 minutes (I prefer my brussel sprouts on the crisper side, but some people like to cook them longer until they are soft). Once they have reached your desired doneness, drizzle the prepared vinaigrette over the cooked brussel sprouts, tossing to cover all of them. Add in the dried cranberries and about ¾ of the candied pecans, and toss once again. Season with salt & pepper if needed.
4. Place the glazed brussel sprouts onto a serving platter and garnish with the remaining candied pecans and the crispy shallots. Serve immediately while still warm.


  1. I love everything you do. I've been reading your blog since some time in July. Your food sounds awesome every time you post something.
    I love brussel sprouts too. This sounds like a good one.
    Are you feeling better? Do you know why your sick?

    1. Thank you, thank you!! I love hearing that from my followers who keep up with my daily posts. And I have to agree about brussel sprouts being lovable, I just don't get how people don't like them. And these are surely decadent. We are making these for sure on Thanksgiving!! And I am feeling slightly better, I had a steady fever for just over a month, which is certainly not normal. But, I am still having some pain and just all-around exhausted. What is more frustrating is that the doctors cannot seem to figure out what is wrong, and trust me, I have done nearly every test you can think of. It's so bizarre. We're hoping that it will eventually blow over, but as of right now, I can't even eat much food, so I am crossing my fingers that I can enjoy our Thanksgiving meal :( Once again, thanks for commenting and I hope you have a great holiday :)


  2. This sounds super DELISH! My kids grew up on brussel sprouts, I mean they always asked " can we have brussel sprouts tonight?" even if we just had them the night before, they even ate them for after school snack, weird for kids right? But they always ate the veggies no other kids would eat. This would be great for their more "mature" pallet. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and like myself, I do hope the Dr's will find out a diagnosis for you soon, so you can get well. Miss B

    1. I love that your kids loved them like I did when I was younger. I swear I make some sort of brussel sprout dish along with every meal. It's addicting. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day, and make sure to check back for the next week for the rest of my recipes that were on our dinner table! I think you'll really like some of them :) And as for being sick, I'm totally on the mend! I went to my doctor on Friday, and my blood work came back practically PERFECT, which means I'm back to cooking a bunch and making up for lost time by stuffing my face with all the yummy food I can make. Let's hope that I will continue to get better and get back to my normal life in Savannah. And as always thanks for being such a great follower, I love to hear that my recipes work for you :)