Somehow, I made it adulthood without ever eating a brussel sprout. My parents never made them, and they certainly didn’t have a reputation that made me inclined to try them on my own. But last Thanksgiving, the lovely Laura brought roasted parmesan brussel sprouts to my dinner, and I was surprised at the result. They were crunchy, nutty, salty, and had a certain je ne sais quoi about them. Plus, they look like cute little baby cabbages.
Fast forward one year. I remembered them being good, but never thought to make them myself. My friend Karen made balsamic brussel sprouts with bacon and put them on her blog, Does That Make Sense?, and they looked so delicious that I picked some up on my next grocery trip. I crossed her recipe with Mark Bittman’s similar recipe from Bitten.
I served these babies with pecan crusted chicken and sweet-potato pear puree. I’ll throw in the rough details of those too (after the Sprouts), for your dining pleasure.
Ingredients: – there are no definite amounts required, adjust the proportions to your heart’s content.
Sliced brussel sprouts – I sliced each into 3-4 pieces
Bacon – chopped up. I used 3 strips.
Handful of dried figs, quartered
Cook the bacon in a nonstick pan or pot over medium-high heat until cooked through. I used a big pot to avoid sprouts ending up everywhere. When the bacon is cooked, add in the sprouts and let them brown for about 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Add the figs, then add about a quarter cup of water and stir – this will evaporate quickly, but will soften the figs and help all the flavors mix. Then add about a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar and stir as it boils off. When the liquid of the vinegar has all disappeared, your sprouts are ready!
Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders – Dip chicken tenders (you can cut boneless chicken breasts into thirds) into a mixture of one beaten egg mixed with one tablespoon of olive oil. Then dip into a mixture of equal parts of whole wheat breadcrumbs and crushed pecans, seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.
Sweet-potato pear puree – Roast sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 1 hour, or until done. Peel the potatoes and put the sweet potato in a food processor or blender with 1 pear, peeled and cubed, or add a can of pear baby food (make sure it doesn’t have any other fruits mixed in). Add a little milk or cream and blend. If your blender won’t integrate the ingredients, add some more milk.