I made a spruitjes (Brussels sprouts to those of you not in the Flemish know) and bacon dish for Thanksgiving dinner that was so good I’ve been thinking of it ever since. Basically, it was individual sprout leaves sautéed with bacon. So. So. Good. So, I decided to turn it into a soup.
My wrists have been flaring up for what is now feeling like far too long, so I quickly gave up on the idea of separating each leaf from a whole bag of sprouts. Instead, I just sliced them up. While most of the soups I make seem to be either vegetarian or vegan, this time it was carnivorousness (that’s a word, honest; I just looked it up) in a bowl. Crispy pancetta, vegetables sweated in the fat and chicken broth. Sometimes a gal’s just gotta walk on the carnivorous side.
How did the soup turn out? So. So. Good. Thick, flavourful, rich, and with just the right amount of baconny heavenliness. I’m definitely on a spruitjes roll here.
Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta Soup
It’s a lot of fun to take one of your favourite dishes and transform it into a bowl of soup (or maybe I just need to get out more).
- 4 ounces mild pancetta (cured Italian bacon), sliced and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 3 stalks celery, halved lengthwise & thinly sliced
- 1 (very) large carrot, diced
- 1 red chile pepper, minced (I left some seeds in for heat)
- about a pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut lengthwise and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lenthwise
- 6 cups chicken stock (I use reduced sodium)
- 6 sage leaves, chopped
- leaves from a half dozen thyme sprigs, quickly chopped
- leaves from a small sprig of rosemary, minced
- pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, render the fat from the pancetta, stirring occasionally. When the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon. Discard all but about a tablespoon of the fat from the pan and return it to the heat. Toss in the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and chile pepper, and let them get happy with the pancetta fat (by which I mean, stir them around). Add the freshly ground pepper to the party. When all the bits have been removed from the bottom of the pan, add the sprouts, pancetta and chicken stock and give it another stir. Add the tomatoes, herbs and nutmeg, then cover the pan and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings if required. Because of the pancetta, I didn’t need to add any salt.
One Year Ago: Dolce Trio Part 2 ✱✱ Amaretti
Two Years Ago: Stolen Burgers — An Unexpected November Barbecue