Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Dates, Pancetta, and Chiles

Source: John Griffiths, Bluestem Brasserie

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on October 29, 2016.

Serves 6-8


1-1½ quarts Brussels sprouts, cleaned, split and blanched
½ cup dates, pitted
1½ cups pancetta, diced ¼ inch
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 Fresno chile, seeded and minced
2 cups chicken stock
Banyuls vinegar
½ bunch tarragon, 1 tablespoon minced and the rest stemmed
½ bunch parsley, 1 tablespoon minced and the rest stemmed
2½ ounces Aleppo pepper


To prepare the Brussels sprouts: trim the sprouts by removing the loose green outer leaves and splitting them down the middle with a paring knife. Set a pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, submerge the sprouts in the water for about 60 seconds, or until bright green and beginning to soften.  Immediately strain and plunge the sprouts in plenty of ice water.  Let the Brussels sprouts drain very well overnight or for several hours in the refrigerator in a towel-lined pan (this helps them brown better).

To smoke the dates: Cut a slit in the dates remove the pits, opening them slightly.  Place them in a smoking pan and smoke for 20-30 minutes, covered very tightly. Reserve the smoked dates in an air-proof container for up to 2 weeks.

In a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat, cook the pancetta until crispy. Remove from the heat and strain the fat into a bowl.  Add the Brussels sprouts to a clean hot cast iron pan and caramelize well with the grapeseed oil and the pancetta fat.  Remove the Brussels from the pan once caramelized and set aside. Add the Fresno chiles and the dates to the pan and mash the dates with the back of a fork. Add the chicken stock and simmer the sauce.  As the chicken stock reduces, add the vinegar, minced herbs, Aleppo pepper and sprouts, as well as some of the pancetta. Season with salt as needed.

To serve: sprinkle a bit of additional pancetta on top and garnish with larger leaves of the same herbs.

Farmers Market Ingredients