If your family is anything like mine, Thanksgiving and other holidays are a joint effort. The matriarch of our family, my Nana - or Cora as you all know her, prepares and cooks the turkey and her famous cornbread dressing while her children and grandchildren bring the sides and desserts. I always admired the way Nana tapped in and listened to what each of us truly enjoyed making and then "assigned" that dish to us. For example, my Aunt Vicki always brings egg custard pie and four layered delight. (These are southern staples that are always present at our holiday dinners) My mom always prepares her deviled eggs — this is widely known in our family and no one dares to take a dish away from its respective "owner." When we all sit down to eat the family always praises Nana for the wonderful dinner, but in true Nana fashion, she takes no credit and instead bounces praise back to my aunts, uncles and my parents for bringing all the wonderful desert and sides.
So, if you are in charge of bringing a side dish to your family Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving and you're looking for what will become "your thing" year after year we are here to help you out this week! Brussels have always gotten a bad rep in my family, they were never really present at our table or on our holiday menus, so I didn't quite know what to do with them until a few years ago when I decided to give them another shot and douse them in bourbon and maple and bring them to a Friendsgiving in New York City — an obvious hit. Although I highly suggest this method of cooking brussels sprouts (it kind of became my go to way to serve them) I had never tried any other recipes. When I saw this recipe in the Holiday issue of Bon Appetit (which is fab by the way, I've read it cover to cover at least 5 times) I knew I'd finally found a reason to put down the bourbon! (Not an easy thing for a gal who spent her formative drinking years in Kentucky!)
Not only is this recipe simple to prepare, it also takes little time to cook and is an automatic crowd pleaser with the spice and full flavor of the chorizo and the smokiness from the toasted almonds. I dialed down the amount of thyme in the original recipe because I felt it was a bit strong, but otherwise this dish didn't disappoint in the least and I'm pretty positive this side is Nana approved.
- Toast almonds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 5–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. (I bought already chopped almonds and this worked fine)
- Cook chorizo in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat starts to render and chorizo is crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a small bowl and wipe skillet clean (don’t skip this step or the reddish-brown chorizo drippings will make brussels sprouts look muddy).
- Heat oil in same skillet over medium-high and cook garlic and thyme, stirring occasionally, until garlic is fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Working in batches, add brussels sprouts, tossing and letting the leaves wilt slightly before adding more; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until browned in spots and tender, 8–10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add vinegar, almonds, and chorizo; toss to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired.