Parents, spouses, friends who cook for their friends: do your peeps a favor for 2010, and don’t be over-zealous with your well-intentioned healthy eating resolutions. Take it from SoupAddict: she has spent her adult years overcoming various childhood food traumas: Green peppers. Sweet potatoes. Pillsbury crescent rolls [don't ask]. Chili. Kale (which she will never get over; even if stranded on a deserted island where the only crops are kale and poison ivy, she’ll take her chances with the poison ivy). And, of course, Brussels Sprouts. (N.B.: there are, indeed, a total of five s‘s in Brussels Sprouts, even though people pronounce it “brussel-sprouts,” as though they’re trying to get even the name out of their mouths as fast as they can.)
You might love Brussels Sprouts—and SoupAddict definitely loves Brussels Sprouts … now—but the peeps might never have had them before, and, unless they’re ardent vegetarians, it’s asking an awful lot of someone to have an immediate appreciation for the steamed Brussels Sprout, healthy though it is. (Even SoupAddict does not have much of an appreciation for the flavor of the steamed Brussels Sprout, especially when roasting is ever so much better.)
No, no, my pretties, you need to gently introduce the wonderful flavor of Brussels sprouts to your peeps, and avert the disastrous, decades-long shunning of so lovely a veggie that could otherwise ensue.
You can help things along a bit by halving the sprout and cutting out the stem, when it’s thick. Like many veggies, the stems are on the bitter side, so just a little “V” cut will do.
Mmm, so pretty. SoupAddict is already imagining those soft, tender insides, encased in their almost-caramelized wrappings.
Peeps like apples, right? Apples are wonderful accompaniments to Brussels sprouts. Choose a crisp, sweet-tart variety, like Honey Crisp or Gala.
SoupAddict really likes this adjustable apple corer and slicer. It can slice apples thick (8 slices per apple) or thin (16 slices per apple) with one good push downward.
Perfect slices, ready for dicing.
Now, pour a little olive oil into a roasting pan, add the sprouts and the apple dices. And … the pièce de résistance (pronounced with SoupAddict’s best nasally French accent) … some bacon. Just two or three uncooked slices will do, cut into 1/2″ pieces. Just enough to add a little bacony goodness, without overwhelming the entire dish. Finally, top with a few thin pats of butter, and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt.
Mmmm, halfway through the roasting. See how some of the leaves are starting to brown? They’re actually caramelizing. And you know and I know and Martha knows that that is a very good thing. SoupAddict can barely keep her fingers out of the pan as she gives everything a good stir before reluctantly parting with it back into the oven for the final 15 minutes.
Oh yeah, bay-bee. The sweetness of the apples nicely counterbalances the savory, buttery goodness of the sprouts, while the bacon … well, you know … bacon just makes everything taste better.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples
Adapted from The Bitten Word
1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 slices bacon (uncooked)
1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (use your favorite – it’s all good)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Remove any damaged or discolored leaves from the outside of each sprout and cut off the tough white stem base (if necessary). Cut each sprout in half.
Drizzle a roasting pan with olive oil. Place the sprouts in the pan with the diced apple. Slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Drop them uncooked into the pan with the sprouts and apples. Drizzle the sprouts and bacon generously with olive oil (note: SoupAddict used butter and salt instead). Toss to combine.
Roast 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Toss. Continue roasting 15 to 20 minutes more, until the vegetables are nicely caramelized.