Brussels Sprouts & Chantrelles

about 20 minutes
about 20 minutes
Makes 4 small side servings

600g brussels sprouts
2 tbs olive
salt & pepper
113g thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise into small pieces
250g chantrelles (halved if large)
1 finely chopped small onion
2 large garlic cloves
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
juice of half a lemon

1. Toss the brussels sprouts in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the brussels sprouts to a grill pan on medium-high heat. Cook until tender and lightly charred, about 8 minutes. (I like brussels sprouts on the crunchy side, so if you want to make sure they are well cooked, blanche the brussels sprouts before you add them to the grill pan and once you add them to the grill pan, cook for about 4-7 minutes.)

3. Once the brussels sprouts are lightly charred, remove the sprouts from the pan and place in a bowl.

4. Cook bacon in the pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

5. Add mushrooms to the pan, toss to coat, and cook without stirring, about 3 minutes.

6. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes.

7. Turn off the heat, and add sherry and red pepper flakes. Cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute.

8. Return the brussels sprouts and bacon to the pan, and toss all together. Add lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. (I think the lemon juice makes this dish, so don’t be shy to add a good amount of lemon juice).

I have a confession. I don’t really understand how people can not like brussels sprouts. Since I was little I always thought of brussels sprouts as little mini cabbages. This little observation always made them taste great to me. As I got older, I was always waiting to tire of brussels sprouts. That it would suddenly dawn on me that brussels sprouts were gross and I would join the masses of people that dreaded having them at the dinner table. “Finish your brussels sprouts” my mom would have to say. But this never happened. In fact, I would often ask my mom to make brussels sprouts. And still to this day, I like brussels sprouts. I particularly love brussels sprouts with a turkey dinner. I tried to find brussels sprouts in Cyprus in October this year. It was like the quest for the holy grail. Because, brussels sprouts were not in season. The fact that you can usually only find fresh fruits and vegetables which are in season in Cyprus, can be both a blessing and a curse.  I even phoned the distributors to see if any shipments were coming in. After several phone calls which led nowhere I eventually found some brussels sprouts at one of the big supermarkets. Sigh of relief. But I digress. This blog is about the brussels sprouts recipe I am making for Christmas day.

I adapted this brussels sprouts recipe from one I found in last month’s Bon Appetit magazine. It includes chantrelles, onions, bacon, sherry, garlic and lemon. For me, what made this dish is the lemon. I find that chantrelle mushrooms soak up the flavours beautifully – particularly the lmeon –  and brussels sprouts compliment the mushrooms with their charred crunch. I do like my brussels sprouts on the crunchy/raw side. So I would recommend that if you want sprouts are softer, you blanche the brussels sprouts before you fry them or you simply fry them for a bit longer than I describe below. Whenever you decide to make this dish – turkey dinner or no turkey dinner – enjoy!

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Cyprus Cuisine

“Cyprus Cuisine”, published by Whitecap Books in 2021, is now available for purchase. Christina Loucas shares over 80 recipes that showcase the very best of Cypriot cooking.

Cyprus Cuisine