Sauteed Brussels Sprouts

Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a nicely sauteed vegetable!  We’ll be having these this Christmas Eve with steak au poivre and roasted red potatoes.  Perhaps not the most traditional holiday meal, but any good food shared with loved ones makes the dining experience memorable, and these brussels sprouts will be a delicious addition to ours.  We hope that all of you are enjoying great food and special time with your loved ones this holiday season as well. 


The ingredients for this dish are really simple:  brussels sprouts, pancetta, olive oil, chicken broth and salt & pepper.  We adapted the recipe from Ina Garten’s “Brussels Sprouts Lardons.”  (In case you’re curious, “lardons” is a fancy word for small strips or cubes of pork fat — like bacon or pancetta.)


Start by heating some olive oil in a large pan and cooking the pancetta over medium heat, stirring often.  Cook until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is brown and crisp, about 5-10 minutes.


While the pancetta cooks, cut off the ends of the brussels sprouts (who knew that the proper spelling is “brussels,” not “brussel.”  Spell-check, that’s who).


Then cut each sprout in half.


Pancetta is almost done – a couple more minutes.


When the pancetta is done, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.  Depending on how much fat was rendered from the pancetta, you may want to remove some of the fat from the pan with a spoon before adding the brussels sprouts so they don’t get greasy.


Add the brussels sprouts and generous pinches of salt and pepper to the remaining fat in the pan.


Saute the sprouts over medium heat for about 5 minutes.


You want the sprouts to be lightly browned before moving on to the next step.


Next add chicken broth.


Cook the brussels sprouts over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are tender – about 15 minutes.  The first time we made these, we thought they might be even better if the sprouts opened up a bit more by the end.  We’ll try to make this happen by gently pressing them open with a spoon while they cook.


You may need to add a little more chicken broth or water while the sprouts are cooking — you don’t want them to dry out.  After about 15 minutes and by the time the sprouts are tender, the liquid should be all cooked off.


Return the pancetta to the pan and heat through for about a minute.


Add salt & pepper to taste, then serve.  We’ll be dining on red plates tonight, which should make for a pretty and festive holiday plate with the green sprouts.  Merry Christmas!

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts


  • 1 to 1 & 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 3 oz package pancetta, diced
  • 1 & 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the pancetta and cook over medium heat, stirring often until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is brown and crisp (about 5-10 minutes).  Remove the cooked pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Remove a large spoonful of the rendered fat from the pan and discard. Add the brussels sprouts and a generous pinch of salt & pepper to the remaining fat in the pan and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Once the sprouts are lightly browned, add the chicken broth, lower the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally and gently pressing open the sprouts with the spoon.  Cook until the sprouts are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add more chicken broth or water if the pan becomes too dry while the sprouts cook.

Once the sprouts are tender, return the pancetta to the pan, heat through, add more salt & pepper if needed, then serve.

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