As I’ve probably said before, I am the kind of cook who mostly values exploring the new vs. repetition. I have an inherent desire to switch things up and even if I stumble across (or create) a recipe that I absolutely love it’s almost impossible for me to make it again without changing it in some way.
So it struck me as odd recently that despite these tendencies there are some foods I prepare the same way over and over again. Brussels sprouts are on that list. I first discovered them when I did Weight Watchers a few years ago. One of the best things about the program was it introduced me to a lot of vegetables I might have not otherwise eaten to keep things varied enough to avoid boredom.
For whatever reason the method I used to prepare them back in the day stuck. For years I’ve been lightly dusting them with salt and pepper before roasting on a cooking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. I think they are delicious and effortless this way, but admittedly a little boring.
It finally seemed time for another take so I bring you a recipe that is the exact opposite of what I made in my dieting days.
Welcome to the more indulgent side of Brussels sprouts. This version has two of my favorite indulgent ingredients – bacon and cream. Why I waited so long to introduce brussels sprouts to these two favorites of mine is beyond me because they pair beautifully. The savory notes in both ingredients really adds a sick to your ribs quality to the dish and is a nice contrast from the fresh crunch of the sprouts. To make sure the richness was well balanced I also added in chopped apples as well as a bit of sweetness from brown sugar.
The good news is that the final product is so addictive I’m thinking it could convert a few Brussels sprout haters. All the sweet and savory flavors really mellow the inherent bitterness in the sprouts. It also makes for a dish that is deliciously decadent, but without being too heavy or rich. I will admit this was one of those dishes where I even after I’d hidden my leftovers in the fridge I kept returning, armed with a fork, for just one more bite.
The bad news is I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to my healthier Brussels sprouts ever again.
-1 pound brussels sprouts
-2 slices bacon (I used Black Forest Bacon)
-2 tablespoons minced onion
-1 medium cooking apple (I used Jonathan), cored and chopped
-1/2 cup apple juice (or even better, use fresh cider if you have it)
-3/4 cup cream
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
-1 tablespoon brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
-Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by preparing the brussels sprouts. Trim the stem ends and remove any ragged leaves. Cut in half, slicing from the stem end to the top and then thinly slice the halves. (You’re looking to get about 8 slices from each brussels sprout.) Repeat with remaining brussels sprouts and set aside until ready to use.
Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp and browned. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel to allow it to drain.
Add 2 tablespoons minced onions and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add the apples and ¼ cup of the apple juice, scrapping up any brown bits as the liquid simmers. Cook until the liquid has been reduced by half, about 2-4 minutes.
Add the brussels sprouts and remaining apple juice to the pan. Continue to cook until both brussels sprouts and apples are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove pan from the heat and add remaining ingredients to the pan, stirring to allow brown sugar to melt and the sauce to coat the apples, brussels sprouts, and onion.
Crumble bacon over the top of the dish.