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As we here in the U.S. wrapped up the election late last night (or early this morning for many of us), I’ve been thinking about how these past months have been so polarizing, a time of taking sides. And I’ve been considering how we are just two weeks from Thanksgiving – a holiday marked by bringing people together, by gratitude, by history, by an acknowledgement of our blessings and all that we have in common, all that we share. What a contrast. And what a challenge. I have to wonder – will we approach the Thanksgiving table a divided people or a people united by thankfulness?

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Hazelnuts via Alaska from Scratch

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Hazelnuts via Alaska from Scratch

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Hazelnuts via Alaska from Scratch

Food has an amazing way of bringing people together. Regardless of who you are and where you come from, we all need to eat. We are all hungry – for food that tastes good and for people with whom to share it. Good food has a way of softening boundaries and breaking down barriers. Food is a great equalizer. And yet, Brussels sprouts are a very polarizing vegetable. People either love them or they hate them (we had a lively discussion on my Facebook page on the very topic). Many people had a bad experience with a soggy, pale green, overcooked, bitter version of a Brussels sprout and never looked back. If that’s you, I’d like to invite you back to the table for these thinly sliced, crisp, bright green Brussels with bacon and hazelnuts.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Hazelnuts via Alaska from Scratch

Aren’t they gorgeous? Smoky, salty, savory, so good.  And every Thanksgiving table needs a bright splash of green in the mix of all the starches and shades of brown and beige. Regardless of whether you like Brussels sprouts or not – come to the table. Remember all there is to be thankful for. Come back together.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Hazelnuts

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Adapted from the Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan

Yields: 8-10 side-dish servings

  • 2lbs fresh brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 5 slices bacon, diced
  • 2T red onion, diced
  • 1/2c hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Heat a large saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned and crisp. Add the onions and cook 2-3 minutes more or until softened. Transfer the bacon and onions to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, reserving the bacon fat in the pan.

Take the slices of Brussels sprouts and, using your fingers, separate the layers into shreds.

Place the Brussels sprouts shreds into the hot pan with the bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook the Brussels until they are crisp-tender and bright green, 5-10 minutes. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the bacon, onions, and hazelnuts to the pan, tossing to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve promptly.

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