There are two secrets to preparing this recipe by Russ Parsons. First, steaming the Brussels sprouts whole and then quartering them, which gives a beautiful range of colors, flavors and textures, from the tender, sweet, dark green of the outside to the bright, slightly bitter, crisp center. And not overcooking them; that's what creates that stinky sulfurous cabbage smell.
To make Thanksgiving Day go more smoothly, you can cook the Brussels sprouts the day before and then cook the bacon and chestnuts and finish the dish shortly before serving. Do not try to prepare them too far in advance and keep them warm, though; that continued cooking will ruin them.
Brussels sprouts braised with bacon and chestnuts
Total time: 40 minutes, plus roasting and peeling time for the chestnuts
Servings: 4 to 6
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 cup peeled and coarsely chopped chestnuts (about ½ pound nuts in their shell)
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut an X in the stem end of each Brussels sprout and remove any outer leaves that are discolored or loose. In a covered pot, steam the sprouts over rapidly boiling water until they are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cut each sprout into lengthwise quarters and set aside. (The Brussels sprouts can be prepared up to this point 8 hours in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.)
2. Render the bacon in a dry skillet over medium heat until it softens and releases its fat, about 5 minutes. Add the minced shallot and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chestnuts and chicken broth to the pan, cover and simmer until the chestnuts are quite tender and sweet, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the vinegar and Brussels sprouts and cook, letting the flavors marry, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add a little more vinegar, if necessary, to brighten the flavors.
Each of 6 servings: 130 calories; 6 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 189 mg sodium.