Pay the price

For my English Mother in-law, Lesley's, first Thanksgiving, we rolled out the pumpkin pie carpet. The turkey was roasted to perfection, but not without normal amounts of stress surrounding timing and oven schedules. Ultimately, the low point of the day came when I shook hot pan drippings with flour and exploded the burning liquid all over Lesley - her hair, her shirt, her glasses. It was a poor attempt at de-lumping the gravy and at least three of us in close proximity to the disaster paid the price.

After a quick trip to the bathroom for clean-up, the laundry room for stain remover, offers of a stiff drink and many apologies, we were back on track.

These little sprouts were proudly displayed on the menu as an attempt to add a British stamp to our Thanksgiving parade. Our normal green vegetable, green beans, were supposedly out of sight. Lesley is a top-notch peeler and quickly offered to peel and halve SIX bags of sprouts. All I did to thank her was nearly send her to the ER.

I had pre-tested the sprouts several weeks ago because we can't get enough of them at my house. I even like them thinly sliced, raw, served with some vinaigrette and a little parmesan. For this Thanksgiving dish, I roasted the sprouts rather than boiling them into submission, and they came out caramelized and crunchy. Pancetta was mostly responsible for their deliciousness, but I'll take a little credit.

You can enjoy these sprouts tossed with a little pasta for a quick mid-week meal. Add a little glass of red wine and it could even make it to the weekend.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Capers and Parmesan
Serves 2

1/2 lb brussel sprouts
6 oz pancetta, cubed
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
one sprig of thyme, leaves removed
3 tbsp capers
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
olive oil
a little squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
handful of chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare the sprouts by cutting off the bottom of each sprout and peel off any yellowed outer leaves. Halve them and then toss them in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them onto a baking tray in one layer and roast for about 15-20 minutes until they are starting to brown. Turn regularly.

In the meantime, get a pan hot on your stove and add the pancetta. Brown it until it's getting crispy, but not completely done. Add the thyme and shallots and stir until translucent. Add the garlic and stir around for a few seconds until fragrant. Finally add a squeeze of the lemon juice and scrape the pan to get all of the juices off the bottom.

Take off the heat and add the capers.

Take your sprouts out of the oven, toss them in your pan and put them back on the baking tray. Make sure to get all the yummy juices out of the pan and onto the sprouts. Roast for another 10 minutes until the sprouts are golden and crunchy on the edges.

Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan and serve as a side dish or toss with pasta for a main dish.

Check your seasoning at the end and add a little more lemon juice if needed.




  2. these look good Lisa..will pass them onto Sue, she might like to incorporate them into Xmas dinner to spruce up the sprouts..! ps. reading through your blog is reminding me that with your exodus to the US went the finest post bike ride stoke newington scrambled eggs..a north london classic! jo