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Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Pearl Onions

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Serves 6 to 8

  • by Juli Roberts from Fine Cooking
    Issue 119

Pan-steaming is a great way to cook Brussels sprouts. Browning the sprouts first deepens their flavor, and adding wine to the skillet creates aromatic steam to cook them through (without making the dish taste boozy).

  • 1-1/4 lb. fresh red or white pearl onions (or thawed frozen pearl onions), root ends trimmed
  • 4 oz. thick-sliced pancetta, cut into 1/4x2-inch matchsticks
  • 2-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 4 slices
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar; more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

If using fresh pearl onions, bring a 3-quart pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the onions and cook for 1 minute to loosen their skins; drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water until cool to the touch. Pinch each onion at its stem end to make it slip out of its skin. If it doesn’t, use a paring knife to remove the skin.

Cook the pancetta in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet and cook, undisturbed, until lightly browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook, undisturbed, until lightly browned on the second side, about 2 minutes more. Add the butter, wine, and onions. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts and onions are tender when pierced with a fork and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the sherry vinegar and pancetta and season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can blanch and skin the onions up to 1 day ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 180; Fat (g): 10; Fat Calories (kcal): 90; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): 18; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 290; Cholesterol (mg): 25; Fiber (g): 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great recipe but the cooking time depends on whether you use fresh or frozen onions. I have made this a few times and there are a few suggestions I have. 1. Spend a bit more time browning the sprouts. 2 1/2 lbs is a lot of sprouts for a 12 inch pan so it takes a bit longer to get them brown on each side. 2. If you are using fresh onions you don't need to cook them in the butter and wine as long as suggested. If you use frozen onions it does take that long (because of the liquid) but I suggest taking the lid off of the pan to absorb the liquid faster so they don't get soggy.

Not good. Bland and too mushy cooking for 15 min. These little cabbages are great when cooked well; this is not the recipe. Will not make again. Search for Brussels Sprouts with cayenne and maple syrup for a great recipe.

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