Take the “ew” out of Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts

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.)

brussels sprouts

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.

brussels sprouts

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.

brussels sprouts

Mmm, so pretty. SoupAddict is already imagining those soft, tender insides, encased in their almost-caramelized wrappings.

brussels sprouts

Peeps like apples, right? Apples are wonderful accompaniments to Brussels sprouts. Choose a crisp, sweet-tart variety, like Honey Crisp or Gala.

brussels sprouts

SoupAddict really likes this adjustable apple corer and slicerbrussels sprouts. It can slice apples thick (8 slices per apple) or thin (16 slices per apple) with one good push downward.

brussels sprouts

Perfect slices, ready for dicing.

brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts

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.

brussels sprouts

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.

brussels sprouts

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

Ingredients:
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
salt

Instructions:
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.


Comments

  1. AWWW. How could anyone hate on brussels-sprouts? :-( They are little baby bundles of goodness. Now I could see the aversion to, let’s say, canned pickled beats… (Very traumatic child hood memories)

    Thanks for the wonderful public service message that helps bring some “respect” to this much mis-understood (and often over-cooked) veggie!

  2. PhyllisRyan says:

    Cher is so right. I am a lover of Brussels sprouts, but this takes them to another level entirely. (Regarding the canned pickled beets, you just don’t have the right recipe.) But I digress. This is on my list to try, I even have the sprouts in the vege keeper.

  3. I love brussel sprouts, but my family doesn’t. I’ll have to try this recipe and see if I can change their minds! Soup Addict, you need to give kale a chance. I have a great recipe for Italian White Bean Soup that has kale in it. It takes all day to make and makes the house smell wonderful….

  4. SoupAddict says:

    You guys are funny. :) I don’t know, Rocky & Phyllis, I think I’m with Cher on this one. I believe both of you that your recipes are yummy – you just can’t underestimate the effect of those childhood food mishaps. In my case, with the kale, my mom served kale and sausage. And … hold on to your hats … there were worms in the kale. My mom was, of course, horrified, but it sealed the deal that I had taken several bites before the first worm was found. There’s no coming back from worms in the food when you’re a food squeamish tween. ;)

    Karen

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