Thursday, November 17, 2016

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

My recipe for Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts Tossed in a Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette with Bacon Lardons, Dried Cranberries, Candied Pecans, & Crispy Shallots is far and away my most requested + most loved recipe during the holiday season. So, when I started getting organized for our upcoming Thanksgiving meal, I noticed that this recipe is four years old and in need of a desperate "revamping". The recipe is only changed slightly, but I added more detailed instructions to help my follow readers! Like before, it requires the same maple-mustard vinaigrette because I think it pairs with the dish like no one's business... I guess if you're not a mustard fan, you could use a balsamic reduction because that would work quite easily. But really though, listen to me and all the fans of this dish and go with the homemade dressing! Mmk? Good... moving on. Concerning the candied pecans, I will leave that up to you and what you want to do. I personally make the candied pecans, but I have used store-bought candied pecans, and no one even noticed the difference. So, by all means, if you want to save time and cut a corner, then go for it! Now, in a small pan, over medium-low heat, you're going to caramelize + crisp up those thinly sliced yummy shallots; they really bring the dish to another level. Next up on the list is cooking a shit ton of bacon... because bacon makes everything better, duhhhh. Once your bacon lardons are crispy, strain them out of their fat onto a paper towel to dry, leaving the just-rendered bacon fat in the pan. That's when you get the trimmed + halved brussel sprouts and begin to pan fry ... in BACON FAT (dun dun dunnnnnn)! Like I've said, bacon makes everything better. Crisp up the sprout halves until they have begun to brown on their flat side, and then toss all of them around to cook the other side of the brussel sprout. I know some people like their brussel sprouts to have some al dente texture, while others prefer a softer finished product. Either way, just cook them until they have reached your desired doneness. If you don't have a large saute pan that can fit all of your brussel sprouts, you might have to do 2-3 batches of them. But, thats no biggie at all! Now it's time to assemble this yummy side dish. In a large mixing bowl, add in the bacon-fat fried brussel sprouts, bacon lardons, dried cranberries, crisped shallots, and chopped candied pecans... all that is left to do is to toss all of the components together while drizzling the maple-mustard vinaigrette evenly over the dish. I suggest that you start off with just a little, and add as you go until you have the perfect amount of dressing that coats everything beautifully. And wham, bam, thank ya ma'am... YOU'RE DONE!! If you want to get a head start on this dish you could easily do any of the following: trim and halve the brussel sprouts and place them into a ziploc bag, make the candied pecans, and whip up the maple-mustard vinaigrette in a mason jar and refrigerate it. That way, you'll have most of the components done + all ready to start cooking! I hope you enjoy this holiday side dish as much as everyone else does!! Enjoy :)
Mmm, bacon lardons
golden brown + crispy shallots 
My Famous Brussel Sprouts in 2015 
So yeah, you have to make these... You'll thank me later!
For the Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette:
2T Apple Cider Vinegar
4T Maple Syrup
2t Dijon Mustard
2T Grainy Mustard
2t Garlic, Minced
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

For Candied Pecans:
1 ½C Pecans, Toasted
½C Sugar
Pinch of Salt, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cayenne, & Chili Powder (I did a large pinch)

For the Crispy Shallots:
4-6 Large Shallots, Thinly Sliced
3T Canola Oil
Kosher Salt

For the Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts:
1.5lbs Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cut into Lardons
2T Canola Oil
5lbs Brussel Sprouts, Trimmed and Halved
Prepared Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
1 ½C Dried Cranberries (save a handful for garnishing the dish)
Prepared Candied Pecans, Roughly Chopped (save a handful for garnishing the dish)
Prepared Crispy Shallots
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

1. For the Maple Mustard 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. For the Candied 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 Crispy Shallots: Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add in the canola oil. Next, toss in the thinly sliced shallots, along with a heavy pinch of salt and sauté them, stirring occasionally, until the shallots caramelize to a golden brown color and start to get a little crispy.  It is very important to not rush this process, so keep a constant eye on the shallots because they can burn quite quickly.  Remove the perfectly crisped shallots from the pan and put them into a bowl, and set them aside until you are ready to assemble the dish.
4. Crisping up the Bacon Lardons: 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 (leaving the fat in the pan).
5. For the Pan Fried Brussel Sprouts: Add in the vegetable oil into the rendered bacon fat and bring it to high heat. Gently place the halved brussel sprouts face side down (or the flat side), and season with salt & pepper. Cook them until they have browned and caramelized, and they have become slightly crispy in texture, about 10-15 minutes (if you have a big enough sauté pan to fit all of your brussel sprouts, then extend the time of cooking to 20-25 minutes; however, if you do not, then you will have to do several batches in order for all of the brussel sprouts to reach your required crispiness and doneness). 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).
6. Assembling the Dish: Once they have all been cooked and have reached your desired doneness, remove the cooked brussel sprouts to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the prepared maple-mustard vinaigrette over the cooked brussel sprouts, tossing to cover all of them. Add in the bacon lardons, dried cranberries and chopped candied pecans, and toss once again. Season with salt & pepper if needed. Place the glazed brussel sprouts onto a serving platter and garnish with the remaining handfuls of dried cranberries, candied pecans and the crispy shallots. Serve immediately and enjoy while they are still warm!!

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