Mustard-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Greg Hardesty, the man behind the innovative set menus of Recess, offers a recipe for mustard-glazed Brussels sprouts with bacon that he promises will convert sprout-haters. "This dish is guaranteed to make you like Brussels sprouts," says Hardesty. He theorizes that the vegetable's unpopularity is mainly due to poorly cooked sprouts, which quickly become discolored and sulfurous when overcooked.
Photography By Christina Richey | September 15, 2011


Hardesty recommends this cure: Peel the sprouts until they are the size of ping-pong balls, blanch them until they are bright green and barely tender (about three minutes), and then dunk them in ice water to stop the cooking process before heating them again with the bacon and sauce.


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch halved Brussels sprouts for approximately 3 minutes, until cooked through but not mushy.
2. Remove Brussels sprouts and place into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain. The sprouts should be tender and bright green.
3. Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
4. Add the onions and cook until soft.
5. Add bacon and sugar; continue cooking for another 30 seconds or until the sugar melts and begins to turn a caramel color.
6. Add the Brussels sprouts and deglaze with the chicken stock. Reduce by half.
7. Add the mustard, vinegar and thyme. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.

About the Dish...

The dish dates back to the 1990s, when Hardesty was working at the Rubicon in San Francisco, and now holds a regular spot in his cooking rotation.

It's not featured at Hardesty's own Thanksgiving table, though, since he's not in charge of the day. He typically attends a pitch-in dinner with friends who thoughtfully agree to give him a break from cooking (he deserves a break more than ever this year, with both Recess and his new neighboring restaurant, Room Four, on his plate; His usual turkey-day contribution is a cold seafood hors d'oeuvre, such as shrimp cocktail or oysters.

Recipe by Greg Hardesty of Recess and Room Four / Words by Kira Bennett & Erica Sagon

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  • 20–25 Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup red onions, julienned
  • ¼ cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 3 heaping tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
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