I don’t know what it is about the new year, but I always feel so dinner inspired in January. I’m always in the mood for basic dinner cookbooks, and this year I’ve been reading through Dinner the Playbook. (Two years ago it was Dinner A Love Story which I carried with me on our trip to Arizona like it was a novel.) I become re-obsessed with meal planning in January, determined to break out of any rut I might have been in. And suddenly in January there seems to be no shortage of new dinner recipes to try, and I’m always determined to make this a year round feeling for those other weeks in late summer or fall when I look at my calendar and have no idea what to make to get us through a week of dinners.
All that to say, this was a new recipe to us and it’s been one of my favorites so far this month.
I know I’m years behind on this, but cooking your brussels sprouts with bacon is absolutely delicious and I’m not sure why I didn’t do this before the year 2015. I actually feel kind of embarrassed by that (thanks to my mom for making brussels sprouts with bacon at her house and finally getting me on board). In the past I’ve only ever roasted brussels sprouts, and they are pretty good, but I think you have to roast them just right and you really do have to use a lot of salt to make the bitterness go away.
But bacon with brussels sprouts seems magical. The salty and smoked flavor of the bacon makes the bitterness of the brussels sprouts disappear.
And when you pair that with a pan seared chicken breast that finishes cooking by simmering in some chicken stock with the brussels sprouts, it becomes a dinner easy enough for a weeknight (and healthy enough for January).
The thing I love about this dish is how it is your meat and vegetable all in one. Add some rice or some quick cooking cous-cous and you have dinner. While the original recipe suggests shredding your Brussels sprouts, I really prefer to leave mine in larger wedges and let them get a nice brown on them before covering them in broth. It takes a bit more cooking time to get them tender, but I think it's worth it.
- 3-4 strips of bacon
- 4-6 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness (if they are large, it might help to cut them in haf horizontally first)
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- 1 small shallot, peeled and diced
- 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- In a medium skillet, place a splash of olive oil and the bacon. Heat over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crispy on both sides. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add a bit of olive oil to the pan if necessary (if your bacon didn't have all that much fat), and brown the chicken on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and place on the same plate as the bacon.
- Add the shallot to the pan, and cook for just a minute until soft. Then add the Brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the Brussels sprouts are slightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and nestle the browned chicken breasts down between the Brussels sprouts. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the Brussels sprouts are tender. Then remove the lid and cook for 10 more minutes, until most of the chicken stock has cooked off.
- Serve warm with the bacon crumbled over the top.
adapted from Dinner A Love Story
(Note: this post contains affiliate links)