There is nothing that can’t be improved by being roasted in a 400 + degree oven. Unless it’s roasted in a 400 + degree oven with some sort of cured meat.
(See an under-appreciated example of such a dish here.)
Last year, I decided to put everyone’s raving to the test, and try brussels sprouts. Holy moly! They’re actually amazing! Let’s put them in stuffing this year, okay?
I took this recipe (aside–Food52 is killing it lately) and tweaked it so I wouldn’t have to separate the leaves off all the brussels sprouts. I’m all about a mindless kitchen task, but that was asking a lot, even of me. Instead, I saved all the leaves that fell off the halved sprouts, and incorporated them, and roasted the rest like I usually do.
To make brussels sprouts stuffing for a crowd, you will need:
- 2 large loaves of bread (they always say to remove the crusts and I never do)
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 cups small-diced onion
- 2 cups small-diced celery
- Kosher salt
- olive oil
- 1 small bunch sage
- 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved (save the leaves that fall off and compile them elsewhere)
- 1/2 cup Cognac, white wine, or sherry
- 3 to 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
- Freshly cracked pepper
- 2 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 275º F. Tear or slice the bread into cubes or shards about 1-inch square. Spread bread onto two sheet pans. Place pans in the oven for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway. Set pans aside to cool. Once bread is completely cool, transfer it to one very large mixing bowl or to two large mixing bowls.
- Preheat oven to 425º F. Add 4 tablespoons butter to the pan along with the diced onions and celery. Cook over medium heat with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced sage and the brussels sprout leaves, toss to coat, then transfer contents of the pan to the bowl of dried bread. Set aside, and turn oven down to 350º F.
- Add Cognac or wine to pan and cook until it has nearly reduced, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, then scrape the contents into the bowl of bread.
- When oven has preheated, add brussels sprout halves, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Roast 20 minutes, add pancetta to pan, give everything a stir, and roast 25 more. When sprouts are done, transfer to bowl with dried bread and onion mixture.
- Add two cups of stock, a big pinch of salt, and freshly cracked pepper to taste to the bowl of bread. Toss to coat.Taste. Add more salt if necessary — this is your last chance to ensure the stuffing is sufficiently seasoned before the eggs are added. Whisk eggs with one cup of the remaining stock. Pour into the bowl of bread and toss to coat. Each cube of bread should feel saturated with liquid. There shouldn’t be any liquid sitting in the bottom of the bowl, however, but if there is, toss the bread again and let it sit for 5 minutes. If the bread seems dry, add more stock, 1/2 cup at a time.
- Choose your vessels–a 9 x 13 is standard, but a sheet pan with give you more crispy bits, and grease each lightly with butter. Transfer bread to vessels and cover each with foil. Bake for 30 minutes at 350º F covered with foil. Raise the temperature to 425º F and bake for 10 to 20 minutes longer depending on your oven. If the stuffing isn’t browning, you can turn the temperature up to 450º F, just be sure to keep an eye on it — it will burn quickly. Let rest five minutes before serving.