Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Favorite Friendsgiving Side Dish

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? I never had until I started dating Jeff, but it's such a fun idea. I love getting the chance to hang with friends in a more casual setting than the typical holiday meal, and getting a chance to see everyone before they all leave town to spend Thanksgiving with their families.

What I don't like? The food!

That's right. It may be blasphemous, but I'm not a Thanksgiving food lover. Really, all I need is the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. And really, I didn't add the gravy into my Thanksgiving repertoire until my late teens. I'm pretty sure my sister just eats the mashed potatoes.

I have a lot of reasons why I dislike Thanksgiving food (I mean, really, what the eff is stuffing?!), but my real problem is with what happens to the vegetables. A vegetable just should never be in a casserole.

When it came time to picking a dish to bring to Friendsgiving, I spent a few years making random desserts decorated like turkeys, and then moved on to mashed cauliflower (because mashed potatoes were always taken by the time I got to signing up). But now I bring brussels sprouts every year. I weirdly love brussels sprouts, which is still really weird to me because they're one of those vegetables you're supposed to hate. I don't know what happened to America's collective taste buds because it seems like the whole country simultaneously changed their mind about the vegetable. And you know what, I'm not complaining!

Usually I roast (or grill!) brussels sprouts with lots of olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe some garlic or crushed red pepper. But for Friendsgiving it feels appropriate to get a little fancier, especially since I was only in charge of making one dish and not thirteen. This recipe took about an hour total, which is a little time consuming, but isn't complicated - anyone can make it and fancy up their brussels sprouts! The recipe originally came from the New York Times, but I made a few modifications. Here's my favorite Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving brussels sprouts!

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta 
Makes 6-8 servings

3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
4 TB olive oil, separated
4 TB unsalted butter
2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed, larger sprouts cut in two
Salt and pepper
6 oz pancetta (find at the deli counter, ask them to cut it 1/2 inch thick pieces), diced
1 shallot, minced
1 TB garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock, more if needed
2 TB fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, thyme, and 2 TB olive oil. Spread out over a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes, stirring often.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add brussels sprouts and salt and pepper (to taste). Sautee 3 minutes or until sprouts just begin to brown, stirring often. Add pancetta and continue sauteeing, stirring often, until sprouts turn deep brown and pancetta gets crispy, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add shallots and garlic, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Increase heat to high and add balsamic vinegar and chicken stock, stirring frequently to coat. Cook 10 minutes, or until sprouts are glazed, adding more stock as necessary. Top with fresh parsley and move to serving bowl, sprinkling breadcrumbs on top. Enjoy!

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