Cider-glazed Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta
posted by: Amber Johnson
Just when you think you know someone (yourself), you get thrown entirely for a loop. I spent many years drinking Diet Coke, only to get a job where they sold only Pepsi products and I preferred Diet Pepsi.
My mom regularly made steamed Brussels Sprouts covered in melted cheese for special holidays and I swore off Brussels Sprouts forever. Until I went to Crested Butte and ate django’s Fried Brussels Sprouts with Cider Reduction, Pistachios and Apples. Game. Changer. Maybe even a life changer. It remains one of my favorite restaurant dishes of all time.
I’ve learned that I don’t like steamed, slimy Brussels Sprouts but my gosh when they’re flash fried or roasted to crispy perfection? Amazing. That’s why I absolutely love this recipe. I added sweet potatoes to the mix and my husband (who hates both vegetables) came upstairs while I was cooking.
Him: “Something smells goooooooood.”
Me: “I’m making Cider-glazed Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Pancetta.”
Him: “Something smells medioooooocre.”
But even he had to admit this healthy recipe is a keeper!
- • Olive oil
- • 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
- • 1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced thin
- • 2 lbs Brussels sprouts (end stems trimmed if needed and discolored leaves removed), quartered
- • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (optional)
- • ½ teaspoon sea salt
- • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- • ¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- • ¼ cup dried cherries or pomegranates
- • ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
- Cider Glaze
- • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- • 1/4 cup sugar
- • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- -Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with foil.
- -Place a medium-size non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle very lightly with olive oil; once hot, add in the diced pancetta, and allow it to crisp up until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes; using a slotted spoon, remove the crisped pancetta from the pan and place onto a paper towel-lined bowl/plate to drain, and set aside; reserve about 2- 2 ½ tablespoons of the pancetta drippings, and discard the rest; next, lightly clean out the pan you crisped the pancetta in, and add back into it the reserved pancetta drippings, and turn the heat on the medium-high; once hot, add in the sliced red onion, and allow it to caramelize until golden-brown for about 15-20 minutes; remove from pan and set aside.
- -Next, toss the quartered Brussels sprouts with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the sea salt, cracked pepper and Italian seasoning; drizzle a little olive oil onto the foil-lined baking sheet, and turn the Brussels sprouts out onto the baking sheet and roast for about 23-25 minutes until golden-green and crisp-tender; remove from oven, toss in the reserved caramelized onion, pancetta, dried cherries and chopped toasted walnuts (if too hot, use a metal spoon to toss), and lightly drizzle the Cider Glaze over the Brussels sprouts, starting with about half of it, and using all, if desired.
- -Into a small, heavy-bottom sauce pan, add the ½ cup apple cider vinegar, the 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and whisk together; place the sauce pan over medium heat, and once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until thicken up and syrupy; turn the heat off, and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar; allow to cool slightly and drizzle over the Brussels sprouts while still warm; or to make ahead, completely cool the glaze and keep it in a small dish covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to use, at which point you can gently re-heat it stove top.