Braising is a cooking method in which food is browned, then cooked in a flavorful liquid – in this case, cider. The cider infuses the Brussels sprouts with a delicious sweetness, and keeps them juicy and tender. See the note below for a vegetarian version that omits the bacon. With or without the bacon, this recipe is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or any fall or winter meal.
Special Cooking Equipment Needed: Large skillet with lid, slotted spoon, bowl, liquid measuring cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 39 minutes
Total Time: 49 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- 2 slices bacon, cut into strips
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 shallot, diced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 cups apple cider, divided
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- In a large ovenproof skillet with a lid, cook the bacon over medium heat until the bacon is crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon, set aside in a small bowl covered with aluminum foil. Pour the bacon fat from the pan into a bowl to leave about 1 1/2 tablespoons in the pan, reserve the removed bacon fat in case it’s needed.
- Add the Brussels sprouts and shallots to the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan: If you don’t have enough room in your pan for the Brussels sprouts to fit in a single layer, work in batches with half the Brussels sprouts and shallot, adding a little more fat to the pan with the second batch. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and saute over medium-high heat, turning the Brussels sprouts to brown on all sides, about 7 to 9 minutes.
- Add all the Brussels sprouts back into the pan if needed and pour 2 cups apple cider into the pan, cover, and cook over low heat until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook 1 more minute.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl. Increase the heat to high and boil the cider left in the pan until it’s slightly syrupy, thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch the pan closely to make sure the cider doesn’t get too thick and syrupy. Pour the cider over the Brussels sprouts, and sprinkle with the reserved bacon pieces.
Vegetarian version: Omit the bacon. Before step 2, melt 2 tablespoons butter in the pan and cook the Brussels sprouts and shallots in the butter. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan if you cook the sprouts in 2 batches. For a crispy topping to replace the bacon, try toasted nuts, such as pine nuts, slivered almonds or chopped walnuts.