Can we all just take a minute to process the fact that brussel sprouts grow on stalks? Like, big, thick branches covered with fat little sprout bulbs! Did you know that? I definitely did not. I sort of always assumed that the brussel sprouts I saw in the grocery store just….grew out of the ground that way. You know, like teeny tiny baby cabbages. So when I saw big, crazy branches of sprouts at Trader Joe’s around Thanksgiving, I was all OMGAWWWW WHAT IS THATTTTT. And then of course I had to buy one, just to see if branch sprouts tasted any different than loose sprouts. (They did not.)
Dan was, unsurprisingly, not pumped when I came home with a giant stalk of brussel sprouts. He was all “What the hell is that”, followed by “Ew, brussel sprouts – why?” Not much enthusiasm there. So yeah, the sprouts languished in my fridge for…oh, 3 weeks or so. But you know what? They really held up! I think partially due to the fact that they were still attached to their main stalk, the sprouts shrank just a tad but otherwise didn’t wither or rot the way a forgotten bag of loose brussel sprouts would have (yes, I am speaking from personal experience). So by the time I got around to cooking them for dinner last night, they were still green and decently fresh. Brussel sprout stalks – I’m sold!
And you know who’s sold on brussel sprouts now? Dan. He, like most other little kids, used to just assume that brussel sprouts were gross because they looked and smelled funny (they do kinda reek while cooking), and has generally refused to eat them. When we go out and I order a side of sprouts, he more or less pretends they don’t exist. But last night, when I was cooking up this big pan of sprouts with bacon and garlic…he not only voluntarily tried some, but liked it. And went back for more! Bacon really does make everything more delicious, and in this case turned a generally pretty stinky vegetable into a salty, savory, garlicky bowl of awesomeness that we couldn’t get enough of (and smelled great too). Definitely will be making this again, and next time I think I’m going to try sprinkling on some Parmesan cheese…
- 4-5 cups brussel sprouts, ends removed and sliced in half (or quarters, if you prefer)
- 6 strips bacon, diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup water
- In a large pan over medium-high heat, cook your diced bacon pieces until they start to brown and release their natural oils.
- Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Dump your sprouts into the pan and gently toss with a spatula to coat each sprout with bacon grease.
- Allow sprouts to cook in bacon grease for 3-4 minutes, stirring every few minutes to avoid burning.
- Pour your water into the pan, then cover the pan and allow your sprouts to cook until water has evaporated – about 4 minutes. (Sprouts should still be nice and green, but soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. Add more water and steam longer if they’re not soft enough for you. If you want slightly crispier sprouts, you should skip this steaming step and just keep sauteing your sprouts uncovered without water.)
- Add salt/pepper to taste, check to see if the consistency of the sprouts is where you want it, then remove sprouts from heat.