Brussels sprouts are one of the most maligned winter vegetables, probably because they are often cooked so poorly. They are usually served whole, overcooked, and underflavored—but this need not be the case. Simply trimming and halving them, or better yet shredding them, brings out the flavor inside these tightly, delicately layered orbs. Diced smoked ham and toasted pecans add flavor and crunch to the sprouts.–Diane Morgan
LC Dazzling Do Ahead Note
Don’t like rushing around at the last minute? No one does. All you need is a simple make-ahead tactic for your side dishes at the holiday table, one that will allow you to channel your energies instead on convincing the veggie loathers at your table that these little green orbs don’t bite back. Take this recipe, in which the ingredients can be prepared and chopped up to 8 hours in advance. Just set the prepped Brussels sprouts, garlic, and pecans and set aside at room temperature, then chop the ham and toss it in the fridge. While your roast rests after coming out of the oven, toss everything for this side dish together on the stovetop. Then accept the kudos.
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, Ham, Toasted Pecans
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic finely minced
- One slice smoked ham coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
- Pinch of sugar
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
- Trim the stem end of the sprouts and remove any yellow or spotted outer leaves. Cut the sprouts into very thin slices about 1/16 inch thick, and use your fingertips to separate the slices into shreds. Alternatively, shred them using a food processor with the coarse shredding disk attached. Place in a bowl and set aside until ready to saute.
- In a 14-inch saute pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute until soft but not browned. Add the Brussels sprouts and saute for about 3 minutes until bright green and barely crisp-tender.
- Raise the heat to high and add the ham and stock. Stir to blend, cover the pan, and steam for about 2 minutes longer until the sprouts are crisp-tender. Season with a little sugar, salt, and pepper. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a warmed serving bowl and top with the toasted pecans. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Brussels sprouts would fly out of stores if they were always cooked like this. Sure, I’m a biased sprouts lover, but my husband, who is neutral about Brussels sprouts, loved them when made according to this recipe. Shredding the leaves made for a great texture and decreased the cooking time. Sautéeing and then steaming the sprouts left them crisp tender. The smokiness of the ham really complemented the sprouts. Toasted pecans add a fabulous crunch. When my husband asked what was in the light sauce, I had to smile to myself. It tasted like more than just garlic, garlic, butter, olive oil, chicken stock, and a touch of sugar. I should have told him that the sauce took 2 long and arduous hours to make, but alas, my face would have betrayed the lie. This Brussels sprouts recipe is a far cry from the insipid boiled whole sprouts I had as a child. (Sorry, Mom!) Now there is never, ever any reason why we should not enjoy Brussel sprouts. No excuses!
What a fun and simple recipe to make! It also got my kids to actually eat Brussels sprouts. It was very easy to make, came together quickly, and the end result works warm as well as cold. I loved the fact that the sprouts were still a tad crunchy and the pecans gave the dish even more crunchiness. I would love to retry it with prosciutto instead of ham and with more garlic.
Originally published November 16, 2009