Emeril’s (slightly modified) Brussel Sprout Casserole

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick-cut apple smoked bacon, diced *** (I used a whole package of bacon, but ended up picking a lot of the fat off so the pieces I ended up with were quite “lean”…comparatively anyway).
  • 1 cup onion, small diced (used a Maya Sweet)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (plopped in some of the pre-minced bulk garlic a l a costco)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1/8-inch) * – mine were about 1/4″ inch slices… ended up slicing the medium-sized sprout into 4-6 pieces. *** I actually used over 2lbs of brussel sprouts off a big-A stock from Super 1, but didn’t alter the rest of the quantities too much.
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme * wouldn’t be a deal-killer to use dried.
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water * I used “Better than boullion” dissolved in some warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper * Realized I didn’t have cayenne so I used some splashes of tabasco, though probably more than what would be the equivalent of 1/2 tsp dry – the spicy is not overpowering and adds an interesting zip to the creamy/savory flavor
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt – I did NOT use very much extra salt, because the chicken stock was so salty.
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In a 12″ saute pan over medium high heat, render the bacon until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon to a heat proof bowl. Add the onions to the pan and cook for 4 minutes or until wilted and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan to the same bowl with the bacon.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the pan along with half the Brussels sprouts and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Cook the sprouts for 2 to 3 minutes on one side or until they begin to brown. Add 1/2 the chicken stock, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/8 teaspoon salt (may not need extra salt if using chicken stock), 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Flip the Brussels sprouts and continue to cook for another minute. Remove them from the pan to the bowl with the bacon and onions. *** This step may seem a little excessive cuz lots of recipes call for just baking and not pre-cooking the sprouts, but the herbs & chicken stock REALLY made them flavorful and much less baking time (i.e. less mushy?)

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and cook the remaining Brussels sprouts in the same way, adding the remaining 1/8 cup of stock after they’ve browned, and seasoning them with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt (I didn’t add extra salt) and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Toss all of the Brussels sprouts with the bacon and onions.  (**** Shelly’s modification: I had seen a lot of recipes for a creamier casserole, so I used one 8oz block of that reduced fat neufchatel cream cheese, maybe a 1/2 cup  of parmesan, and about a 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt to make it a little easier to stir & incorporate… I mixed the cheesy/creamy mixture together first and THEN added it to the sprouts so it wouldn’t mangle the sprouts so much (I ended up adding the 2nd half of the cream cheese afterwards and it was really hard to mix in and I had big chunks of cream cheese – not a deal breaker but better to cream the creamy stuff first and then add to sprouts). It was VERY rich and if you wanted to go lower fat, I think you could easily use fat free cream cheese and eliminate some or all of the parmesan without sacrificing the creaminess.  I’m going to try that next time.)

Pour the mixture into a 10 by 6 inch baking dish.

Sprinkle the top of the dish with the cheese (*** I used both the sharp cheddar AND some parmesan… it was actually a little too cheesy for me on top, you could decrease)  and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc

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