Brussels sprouts with bacon and herbs

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Unlike the more standard roasting or steaming of brussels sprouts, this recipe utilizes the braising technique.  They are browned in a little butter and oil and then slowly simmered with some good chicken stock (or turkey stock if it’s on hand this time of year).  Combined with some bacon (always a good friend of a green vegetable), some shallots, and a few herbs, these edible buds are fork tender and quite possibly capable of winning over a few of those curled up noses at the table.

Ingredients:

2 pounds brussels sprouts

5 ounces bacon, cut into ½-inch squares

4 medium shallots, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

1 ¼ to 1 1/3 cup chicken stock, divided

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Preparation:

Remove any dry or yellow outer leaves from the sprouts.  Slice off the dry stem end and cut into quarters; set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until golden brown, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the shallots and thyme and cook until soft, about 5 minutes  Transfer the shallot mixture to the bowl with the bacon.  Pour 1/4 cup of the stock into the pan and, using a wooden spoon, stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Pour the stock over the bacon mixture.

Wipe out the pan with paper towels and place over medium-high heat.  Melt the butter and oil.  Add the brussels sprouts and season with salt; stir to coat evenly.  Cook until the sprouts begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir again, then cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup of stock.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and adding more stock as needed until the sprouts are soft and tender, about 15 minutes more.  Add the bacon mixture and any remaining stock and stir to incorporate.  Stir in the chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.