It seems to be a universal truth that kids hate brussels sprouts and who can blame them, especially if they were all served like my parents served them; cooked to death then drizzled with vinegar. It’s no wonder that many of us ever outgrow that hatred. That’s too bad because brussels sprouts can be a wonderful vegetable. Sure, overcooked they can be mushy, slimy and sulfurous, but when cooked properly they have a wonderful earthy quality about them and just a hint of a sharp bite that makes them lively.

While many people still prefer to blanch them whole, or cut them in half and blanch them, before giving them a quick saute in butter, I prefer to pull them apart so that each leaf is its own individual. I then saute the raw leaves and finish them by steaming them with a little liquid. Sure it is a little more time consuming this way, but I like the resulting texture and flavor cooking brussel sprouts this way.

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Dried Cranberries

serves 4

1 1/2 pounds Brussels Sprouts
2 slices Bacon, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 cup Pecans, toasted
1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Madeira (Sherry works great also)

Core and peel apart the brussels sprouts. Thinly slice the tight centers of the brussels sprouts. In a large skillet cook the bacon over medium high heat. When brown and crispy remove from pan and pour off all but 1 Tbsp. of bacon fat. Add the butter to the skillet and allow to melt. When the foaming subsides add the the brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer, continuing to stir. Toss in the dried cranberries and the Madeira. Continue to cook until the Madeira as reduced to almost dry and the brussels sprouts are tender. Add the pecans and cooked bacon. Season with salt and pepper and serve. This serves 4 as a side vegetable.