Thursday, February 9

Best Brussels Sprouts

After you make this dish, you may just join the veggie nerds club my husband and I are in, and instead of craving the usual suspects (chips, cake or caffeine?) you'll crave roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon. These are truly delicious. The sprouts get tender with an al dente bite, while the outer leaves crisp up and add a delightful toasted crunch. Oh, these are good.

I had been hearing about "roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon" as a general food concept for a while, and this past Thanksgiving I decided we needed to experience them. I found a recipe from the Food Network Kitchens, and Hubs and I tag teamed it. Since then, we've had these more times than I care to count. (Definitely nearing ten...) You need to make these today.

Is it weird that I never tasted Brussels sprouts until a few years ago? The first time I did, they were simply frozen sprouts steamed in the microwave, and I was an instant fan. These "mini cabbages" are treasures of the garden. Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which means they are in the elite class of nature's cancer preventive, cancer fighting foods. For more Brussels sprouts nutritional trivia, look here

Best Brussels Sprouts
adapted from Food Network Kitchens

What you need:

  • 4-6 slices bacon (uncured pork, turkey, or beef bacon <---from Trader Joe's)
  • handful (1/4-1/2 cup) walnut pieces or sliced almonds 
  • 1-2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, washed and halved or quartered
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 to 15 inch cast iron skillet (any oven safe skillet will work but cast iron is truly best for this)

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Set skillet on the stove at medium-low heat (4/10). Cook the bacon until done, but not crisp. Remove from pan to a paper towel to cool and absorb grease.

Keeping the skillet at medium-low heat, add the nuts and toast for five minutes, stirring occasionally. While nuts are toasting, cut or break bacon into bite size morsels (approximately 1/4 inch).

When nuts are toasted, remove them to plate with the bacon pieces. Turn off the stove burner. Add Brussels sprouts to the skillet, sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper, toss together and get it into the oven. Roast for ten minutes, pull out skillet, give them a gentle stir and add in the bacon and toasted nuts. Put back into the oven for ten more minutes, or until the loose leaves on the sprouts look crisp and starting to brown. Taste test a sprout (after it's cooled a bit!) to make sure they are cooked through. Do NOT overcook the sprouts.

I would give storage tips, but we've never had leftovers and you probably won't either. So, there you go :)