Saturday, June 5, 2010

sides as mains: roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, mushrooms and crispy shallots

If you're one of those people who think they don't like Brussels sprouts, this may cure you.

There's little baby sprouts at the markets at the moment and they were so cute I had to buy some. But to be honest, Brussels sprouts were - up until now - one of those things I wished I liked more. I kept reading about how sweet and nutty they were, but couldn't seem to draw those qualities from the little things the few times I'd tried. The answer was, of course, to roast them in the oven. I should have thought of this earlier - probably around the time I first tried this.

This recipe has you toss the babies in finely minced garlic and some olive oil and roast them until they smell amazing and look all burnished and glossy. While they're cooking, you crisp up some shallots and put them aside to drain. Then in the same pan, sauté some bacon and mushrooms until it looks amazing, add thyme and white wine to make a kind of jus and the toss in the roasted brussels sprouts. Serve topped with the crispy, crispy shallots and this is really too good to be a side dish.

The original recipe has no bacon, as it's designed to serve alongside meat. I had some in the fridge so I threw it in, thinking it would take this dish to the next level. But the roasted sprouts were so good, it would have been just as yummy without. So it makes a wonderful vegetarian side or dinner, if you don't mind sides as mains.

Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, mushrooms and crispy shallots
Adapted from

Brown bag lunch idea: I popped the leftovers into my lunchbox with a miniature can of chickpeas and some feta. It was ace!

500g Brussels sprouts (the younger the better)
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
vegetable oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 rashers of rindless middle bacon, cut into lardons
a knob of unsalted butter
a couple of handfuls of fresh mushrooms (I used swiss brown), quartered if large
a slug of dry white wine
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt & pepper
1/4 cup water
an extra knob of butter

1. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, then spread out in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan. Roast until tender and browned. This will take around 20 for baby sprouts and up to 35 minutes for larger ones.

2. While the Brussels sprouts roast, fry your shallots. Heat oil in a pan big enough to accommodate the mushrooms later and fry shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Be careful as they burn very easily! Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, spreading in a single layer and they'll magically crisp up as they cool.

3. Next do the bacon and mushrooms. Remove excess oil from the pan, but don't clean it! You want to use all that sweet flavour from the shallots. Fry bacon lardons until crispy brown. Push lardons to a far edge of the pan and heat knob of butter in pan until foamy. Sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, stirring through the lardons. Add the wine, thyme, salt, and pepper and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2 minutes. Add water and extra knob of butter and simmer, swirling skillet, until butter is melted. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with shallots.


  1. Only you could make Brussel Sprouts delicious! I will have to try this one

  2. Oh my this looks too good not to make. I bought some brussel sprouts the other week feeling inspired but by the time I got around to using them they were no good. This has definately made me want to buy more and give this recipe a go. I'd eat it as a main dish as well perhaps tossed in pasta.

  3. Oh yum: tossed through pasta! What shape?


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