Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cider-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions, Crispy Bacon and Pine Nuts


My husband and I had the rare weekend with NO kiddos!  Wow.  What to do with all the freedom?!  Frankly... we've spent the day wrapping gifts and making sure all is "set" for our Christmas celebration.  But that's another story.  Relevant to this, is that we both really like roasted Brussels Sprouts, and since there are no kids here to complain, we went for it!  Recently, I came across a recipe for cider glazed Brussels Sprouts from The Cozy Apron that sounded too yummy to pass up.  Of course I changed it up a bit for our tastes, but overall - wow.  We were really pleased!

Click here for Printable Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices smoked applewood bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (end stems trimmed if needed and discolored leaves removed), halved
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted or plain
  • Cider Glaze (recipe below)



Cider Glaze
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Method:
Into a small, heavy-bottom sauce pan, add the ½ cup apple cider vinegar, the ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and whisk together over medium heat.  Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until thicken up and syrupy; turn the heat off, and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Allow to cool slightly and drizzle over the Brussels sprouts while still warm.

Step-by-Step:
Cut bacon into 1/2" pieces (lardons).
4 slices smoked applewood bacon
Add them to a pan and cook until crisp.
 Remove crisped bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving the drippings.
Allow the bacon to drain on paper towels.
 Add sliced onions into the hot bacon drippings.
1 medium onion, sliced thin
Cook the onions slowly until caramelized... 15 - 20 minutes.  Remove the cooked onions and set aside. 
Trim and cut Brussels sprouts lengthwise in half.
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
Drizzle the hot bacon fat over the Brussels sprouts in a rimmed pan.  Add only the liquid portion, avoiding any solids that may have accumulated in the bottom of the drippings.
Season the Brussels sprouts.
Kosher salt-
kosher salt
Cracked black pepper -
black pepper
 Italian seasoning -
Italian Seasoning
Now these babies are ready for the oven.
 Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
While Brussels sprouts are roasting, make the cider glaze.
Apple cider vinegar -
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Granulated sugar -
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Brown sugar -
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Bring to a boil..
then down to a simmer for about 10 minutes until syrupy. 
When you are ready to use the cider glaze, add the extra cider vinegar to brighten the flavor back up (you don't want it too sweet), and thin it out a bit.
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Now our sprouts are ready to come out of the oven - golden brown.
Add the reserved bacon and caramelized onions to the roasted Brussels sprouts.  Drizzle some of the cider glaze over the top.  You may not need it all.  Add some, taste, adjust.
Serve with pine nuts.
(If I had thought enough about it, I would have dry toasted the nuts in a pan.  But I just didn't think about it in time.)
So we have golden brown Brussels sprouts, crispy smoky bacon, sweet caramelized onions, crunchy nuts... and a tangy sweet cider glaze.  Now THAT is an exciting side dish!!

Written Directions
-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  For easier clean up, line a baking sheet with foil.

-Place a medium-size non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add in the bacon pieces.  Allow the bacon to crisp up until golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the crisped bacon from the pan and place onto a paper towel-lined plate, and set aside. 

- Add the onion slices in to the bacon drippings, and allow them to caramelize until golden-brown for about 15-20 minutes; remove from pan and set aside. 

- Next, toss the halved Brussels sprouts with the bacon drippings (how could this be wrong?!), then season with sea salt, cracked pepper and Italian seasoning.  Arrange them on a baking sheet with room in between them, and roast for about 20-25 minutes until golden-brown and crisp-tender.  Remove from oven, toss with the caramelized onions, crisp bacon pieces, and pine nuts.  Lightly drizzle the cider glaze over the Brussels sprouts, starting with about half of it, and using all, if desired.
  
Looking for another great Brussels Sprouts recipe?
Brady's Brussels Spouts Hash

Fun tidbit - When my second oldest came home the other day, I told him about this dish.  I said I thought he would have enjoyed it.  He says "Yeah, I saw it on Facebook.  You know Mom, so many people say that Brussels sprouts are yuck... What are they talking about?  They are awesome!"  Now you know, for a 13 year old to say that, something must be extraordinary about them!  That makes me really happy.  I don't force my children to eat anything.  But I do keep trying to offer things in new and exciting ways to hopefully entice them to try different ingredients and styles of preparation.

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