Monday, April 18, 2011

Balsamic Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

I found this recipe, apparently adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, a couple years ago on smitten kitchen - a yummy, very non-Gundry, home-cooking weblog.  However, lucky for us, with the exception of the bread crumb topping (omitted here), this recipe works for us Gundry'ers.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (grass-fed)
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
Salt and pepper
6 oz pancetta, small dice (approx. 1.5 cups)*
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups veal stock, rich chicken or vegetable broth, more if needed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
*I used about 4 oz. pancetta.  Be sure to ask for a thick slice of pancetta (approx. 1/4" to 1/2" thick) to dice into cubes.  I asked for a 1/4"-thick slice and received 1/4 lb of sliced pancetta.  The taste was still delicious, but I was a bit disappointed with my thin slices.  Trader Joe's sells a package of diced pancetta that would work well for this recipe.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter looks foamy.  Add Brussels, turning to coat in butter and olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute, turning frequently, until lightly browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add diced pancetta, saute, turning frequently until sprouts are fully browned, slightly softened and the pancetta is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes more.  Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high, add balsamic and stock.  Cook, turning frequently, until Brussels sprouts are glazed and tender, about 20 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve sprinkled with fresh, chopped parsley.
The result is a delicious, almost stew-like side dish.
I served it with smashed cauliflower.  Max wanted some more protein, so I served his plate with a sausage as well (recommended for those in Phase 1).  I thought the combination of the braised Brussels and smashed cauliflower was reminiscent of a rich Italian dish of stewed meat atop polenta.  It was a bit more work than simple roasted Brussels (which we also love), but well worth the effort.  
 I believe this recipe was intended for whole Brussels sprouts.  So, if you find this recipe too "smooshy" either use whole Brussels or cut down the cooking time.

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