Bacon Weaved Roasted Brussels Sprouts Skewers

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A lot of people claim they do not like Brussels spouts because they are bitter; that may very well be true. Brussels sprouts do contain a compound some perceive as bitter because of genetics – much like the asparagus, cilantro, arugula, and others. Another reason some taste bitterness in Brussels sprouts is because of the preparation – they are boiled or steamed.

It turns out the bitter compounds in Brussels sprouts are broken down when cooked at a much higher heat than boiling or steaming can achieve. Roasting at temperatures above 375°F will give you that result. Roasting will also cause caramelization which creates some sweetness and helps balance any remaining bitter notes.

But really – Brussels sprouts and bacon? Not much else to say here except “More please!”

Bacon Weaved Brussels Sprouts 

Ingredients

8 slices thick cut bacon
32 Brussels sprouts of similar size
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
8 wooden or metal skewers (See note)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Cook the bacon in a large cast iron skillet until it shows just a hint of browning but is still soft and pliable. Overcooking the bacon will make it impossible to weave onto the skewer. Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside. Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan saving it for another use. A thin coating of bacon grease should remain in the pan.

Trim the brussels sprouts and remove the outermost leaves. Add the sprouts to the skillet, shake the skillet to lightly coat the sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until sprouts are beginning to brown or for about 15 to 20 minutes. You do not want to completely roast the sprouts at this time. They will be roasted further when skewered.

Assemble the skewers by threading 1 end of the bacon onto the end of a skewer. Add a sprout and weave the bacon around the sprout and back through the skewer. Add a second sprout and once again thread the bacon around and through the skewer. Repeat this until you have 4 or 5 sprouts on the skewer each time moving the bacon and the sprout down the skewer. Allow at least 1 inch of skewer to extend beyond the last sprout or end of bacon.

Arrange the skewers on a baking sheet and bake the skewers for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked.

Note: I prefer to use wooden skewers. Wooden skewers will need to be soaked for several hours to help prevent them from burning. Covering the exposed wood with foil will also help prevent them from burning. Another reason to soak the skewers is to help with skewering the food and to help the food slide off after it is cooked.

Brussels Sprout Fried Rice

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Need a Meatless Monday meal idea? Vegetarian or vegan and wanting to wake up your taste buds? Looking for alternatives for Lenten meals?  This Brussels Sprouts Fried Rice recipe is packed with flavor. 

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We typically have one meatless meal a week so I am always looking for ideas. One of my go to sources is Isa Chandra Moskowitz on her Post Punk Kitchen website. Her vegan site has given me a lot of inspiration when cooking for my vegetarian daughter.

Here is a very flavor packed fried rice recipe that can be eaten as a side to a larger meal or as a meal like we did. That fact that we love Brussels sprouts makes this a win-win recipe. One could easily add additional protein to this dish by adding a couple scrambled eggs at the very end.

I made a few slight variations to the original recipe found on PPK. Here is what I did:

Brussels Sprouts Fried Rice

Ingredients

4 tablespoons refined coconut oil, divided (or your favorite cooking oil)
12 oz Brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin half-moons
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup fresh basil
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1 cup finely chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
4 cups cooked and cooled jasmine rice (See Note)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice from one lime
½ teaspoon agave

Sriracha to serve

Directions

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Saute the Brussel sprouts and carrots in 2 tablespoon of oil until Brussel sprouts are lightly charred; about 5 to 10 minutes. Toss in the pine nuts and cook for two minutes, tossing often, until toasted. Transfer everything to a large plate and set aside.

Lower heat to medium. Add ½ tablespoon oil. Saute the basil, cilantro, scallions, garlic and ginger for about a minute. Stir in the red pepper flakes when the herbs are wilted and aromatic. Return heat to medium-high and add remaining oil and rice and cook for about 5 minutes. Toss often to combine.

Lastly, add the Brussels, carrots, and pine nuts back to the pan. Drizzle in the soy sauce, lime juice and agave. Cook for 5 more minutes or so until rice is lightly browned. Taste for salt. Serve with Sriracha.

Note: You must use cold rice in this recipe. Using warm, recently cooked rice will cause it to get mushy and clump together. I suggest making the rice the day before.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

When I discover a great dish at a restaurant I have to try to recreate the recipe at home. Susan and I spent the weekend in St. Louis a couple weekends ago at the Moonrise Hotel on the Delmar Loop. While there, we ate at a wonderful restaurant called Nico where Susan ordered their Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad. It was fantastic and she immediately told me that I needed to recreate it. She thinks I came extremely close. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

1 pound Brussels sprouts

½ ounce Maytag Blue Cheese

1 oz dates finely chopped

1 oz sliced almonds

2 tablespoons walnut oil (olive oil may be used)

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

Wash and cut the stems off of the Brussels sprouts and then remove the outer layers of leaves. These tend to be somewhat bitter. Finely slice the Brussels sprouts avoiding the very inner core. You could use a mandolin slicer set to the finest setting but I feel more comfortable using a chef’s knife. Toss into medium sized bowl to separate the layers. Crumple the blue cheese and add it to the bowl along with the chopped dates and almonds. Toss to combine. Wisk together the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice to create a vinaigrette. Drizzle vinaigrette over Brussels sprouts mixture and toss until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.