Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brussels and Bacon

Do all Brussels sprouts come from Brussels? No. But apparently they were all the rage there back in the 1200's. And did you know that the lil' mini-cabbages grow on stalks? And that they are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate? Yep. For some reason I was in the mood to roast up some Brussels sprouts last week, and searched high and low for them with no luck. (It's November already! Where were you?!?) Just a few days later they are all over the place. Of course. I found the stalk above at my local farmers' market and additional piles of single sprouts in my local supermarkets.

Thanksgiving is on the brain so I thought I'd share one of my all time favorite (super easy) side dishes. If you or your family think they don't like Brussels sprouts, think again. Roasting them is the key to the most fabulous results (in my humble opinion) and bacon is the secret weapon. What doesn't taste better with bacon? (You could certainly leave the bacon out...but why? WHY? OK. You veggie peeps would probably want to do that.)

Some outer leaves are likely to fall off and get all crispy. Not to fret. They are a yummy treat for the chef and anyone else fortunate enough to be standing nearby when they come out of the oven. But it's also the reason to stir everything once or twice while roasting. (I find that the vegetables on the edges of the pan tend to get more brown than what is in the center of the least in my oven). You might also want to consider making two sheet pans worth, because if you're anything like me, the bacon and Brussels sprouts will disappear before you even get around to serving them.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 - 6 slices bacon, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once midway through cooking, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Serves 6 as a side dish.

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