Caramelized Brussel Sprout & Bacon

Our family has long been a fan of the often maligned, little brussel sprout!  I remember how my kids, when they were just little, would beg me to make brussel sprouts for all of those special meals. Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Easter and Christmas;  really??…what kids want brussel sprouts for their birthday dinner…lol.

When I began cooking brussel sprouts I knew very little about them, in fact I am certain the first time we had them, they were frozen and from a bag.  I guess I must have spied them in the frozen grocery section and decided they would be a nice change from peas!  (I have not had good luck with the frozen version and prefer fresh.)

Did you know that brussel sprouts are actually the edible buds found on the stalk of the brussels sprout plant?  I have only seen them in the form below at the Farmer’s Market.  I usually buy them bulk in the produce aisle of the supermarket or in a bag from Costco.

I wasn’t sure what to do with this somewhat foreign (to me) vegetable so I just followed the directions on the bag and either steamed or boiled them, with less than stellar results.  Cooked either of these ways, I found them to be rather bland with a strong cabbage like taste.  But, they were a change from the regular vegetables, and for some unknown reason my kids just loved them.

Over the years my sister and I have often experimented with the cooking of this vegetable and have finally come up with a winning recipe.  My sister, Shannon, is actually the author of this delicious recipe for Carmalized Brussel Sprouts.  As much as I would like to claim this recipe and the accompanying photos as mine, they are all hers.

When time permits, I have always found it to be much simpler to prepare a dish when you gather your ingredients and do all the prep work before beginning to cook.  You may have heard French chefs refer to this process as, “mise en place” or “put in place”.

Caramelizing the shallots.  If you don’t have shallots you could use a red or white onion, however, the onion flavour will be a bit stronger.

The brussel sprouts are beginning to caramelize, this process makes them taste a bit sweeter.




  • – 2 pounds brussel sprouts
  • 5 slices bacon diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 shallot diced
  • cup hot water if needed
  • juice from ½ lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Wash and remove the outer leaves from brussel sprouts, trim stem end and cut in half. If brussel sprout is smaller, you can leave whole & just cut an X in the bottom to allow heat to penetrate.
  • In a large skillet, cook bacon until evenly browned, remove bacon from skillet, leaving grease behind.
  • Stir butter and olive oil into bacon grease, add shallots and cook until translucent.
  • Add the halved brussels sprouts and pan fry, stirring frequently until the brussels sprouts are golden (be careful not to burn them or they will taste bitter),and tender, yet still slightly firm, about 10 minutes. (Add ⅓ cup hot water if pan is getting dry and sprouts aren’t cooking).
  • To re-heat bacon, add it back to the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over cooked brussel sprouts and season with salt and pepper.

If you have never had them, I hope you will give the little brussel sprout a try, they are actually quite delicious and a different taste from our regular green vegetables.

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