At Thanksgiving, I caramelize brussel sprouts which brings out their buttery, mellow flavors. In this recipe, they meld together with bacon or pancetta, cream, onions and olives to make a spectacularly interesting dish.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Cut the pancetta into ½-inch dice; dice the onions. Add the pancetta, onion, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and cook until brown, 5–8 minutes. Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts.
Smash the garlic cloves, then chop finely. Move the pancetta and onion to the sides of the pan. Add the remaining olive oil and the Brussels sprouts, cut-side down, to the center of the pan. Then add 1 tablespoon butter.
Season evenly with salt and pepper.
Add the chestnuts, olives, and garlic, and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6–7 minutes.
Add the remaining butter, cream, and water. Add the sage and thyme (optional). Reduce the heat and simmer until the Brussels sprouts are tender and the liquid has thickened, 10–15 minutes. Serve hot.