Thursday, November 17, 2011

Happy (Virtual) Thanksgiving!

Brussels Sprouts Chilaquiles

In our household, we don’t really have traditional family recipes. I’ve never subscribed to the notion that a holiday isn’t complete without green bean casseroles or candied yams on the table. Instead, I like to mix it up with new dishes appearing each year.

What we do have is a family recipe tradition. As long time readers will recall, my son and I started one of these a few years back. He had returned from school with some cockamamie story about our Thanksgiving dinner written on a construction paper turkey. The tale involved mashed potatoes shaped like turkey legs, cooking the turkey for an hour, and stuffing it with French Fries. While the first two suggestions were ludicrous to me, the third had possibility.

Since that year, our Thanksgiving family recipe tradition is that Thor and I concoct some new and unusual stuffing for our bird. Last year’s dressing was cornbread, black bean, poblano peppers, and chorizo. With this recipe as the centerpiece, we went with an entirely Southwestern theme to our feast. It was a delicious meal, spicy and rich with one dish in particular standing out as a star: Brussels Sprouts Chilaquiles.

Incorporating a generous helping of bacon grease, crumbled tortilla chips, and caramelized onions, it was quickly devoured leading me to think this recipe might actually become a tradition in my house at Thanksgiving or any other day.

Bacon-Brussels Sprouts Chilaquiles
Serves 4-6

This is not a dish for the dietetic. It’s unabashedly full of bacon and bacon grease – a natural partner to Brussels sprouts. I keep a small container of rendered bacon grease in my fridge, which I use as a fat in cooking certain dishes like this one. If you don’t have a ready supply of bacon grease and still want to make this recipe, just cook more bacon slices at the end of the recipe. Save them for another purpose, eat them, or throw caution to the wind by including them all in this recipe.

2 ½ tablespoons bacon fat
1 medium yellow onion, chopped into small dice
¼ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved
¼ cup amber beer
¾ cup turkey stock
3 slices bacon
2 cups corn tortilla chips
Juice of ½ lime
Salt, pepper, and hot sauce

Melt two tablespoons of bacon fat in a covered skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook slowly until golden brown. Sprinkle the cumin and chile powder on top of the onions. Cook until fragrant, merely a few seconds. Stir in the Brussels Sprouts and stir to coat. Pour in the beer, increase the heat to medium, and cook until slightly reduced. Add the turkey stock, cover and cook until the Brussels sprouts are almost tender, just about five minutes. While the Brussels sprouts are cooking, render the bacon slowly until brown and crispy. Drain. Uncover, crumble all of the tortilla chips into the pot. Add a little more stock or water if the liquid has evaporated. Cover again and cook until the chips are softened. Season with lime, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Crumble the bacon into the dish. Serve warm.

Posted as part of Williams-Sonoma's Virtual Thanksgiving. For more recipes, visit the Blender blog.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post Melissa! I'm a substitute teacher in Michigan now, and the amount of "Thanksgiving meal" art I see this month as I go from classroom to classroom is slightly frustrating. It usually revolves around turkey, mashed potatoes, and other so called "traditional" foods that "everyone" eats. I don't think it's culturally sensitive, and it's certainly not open-minded and inclusive of people who eat different meals, due to cultural differences, dietary preferences, or just a desire to change things up a bit!

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