It was a whirlwind week here at Little White Apron! My best friend, fellow food blogger Theresa from Island Vittles and Outlander Kitchen flew all the way from Canada to Southern Louisiana to see little ole me. To say that we had more fun than a barrel of monkeys is putting it mildly. We ate, we drank and we passed a good time. However, if you get two or more chefs in a room the knives come out (in a good way). I taught Theresa how to make a traditional Louisiana chicken and sausage gumbo and she taught me how to make a decent pie crust. So of course, on our last night together we wanted to cook a meal that we would both remember. I took my last few steaks from last year’s quarter beef purchase out of the freezer then we started planning what we would serve with those fabulous steaks.
Brussels sprouts and apples are in season right now and we thought they would make a perfect pair to accompany our steaks, along with a salad. They would also make a great side dish for your Thanksgiving table.
I’ll go ahead and admit that I hadn’t had brussels sprouts since I was a kid. They were probably overcooked, bland and mushy. No offense to whomever cooked them, but hey, it was the 70s. That’s how they cooked them then. These are not your mother’s brussels sprouts. They’re awesome and delicious. Seriously, who doesn’t want to eat a tiny cabbage?
Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Cracklins
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed and cleaned
- ½ small onion, chopped roughly
- 2 Tble duck fat or bacon grease (see notes)
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped roughly (see notes on apple varieties)
- 1 cup beer (see notes)
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped roughly
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- salt + pepper
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup cracklins, chopped roughly
Sauté brussels sprouts and onions in melted duck fat over medium-high heat until soft. Add apple, sauté 2 minutes more. Add beer, walnuts and thyme, cover. Cook 4-5 minutes, then remove cover and cook until liquid has cooked away. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 8×8 buttered baking dish. Mix bread crumbs and cracklins together. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over brussels sprouts and place under the broiler to brown, being very careful not to burn. Serve hot.
- If you’re using bacon grease in lieu of the duck fat, sauté 3 or 4 slices of bacon in the skillet. When bacon is crisp remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Set aside. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking fat. Crumble bacon with panko breadcrumbs instead of the cracklins. Bacon + cracklins = way too much pork fat in one dish.
- I used a Matsu apple, but any sweet yet slightly tart apple would work. Try Pink Lady, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp.
- I used a Dos Equis because I had a few left over from a party, but any light-ish beer would work. Use what you have. If you don’t have a beer, you can use chicken stock or wine.