Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiittttt’s BACON! Well, partially. The other day at the grocery store I spied beautiful stalks of Brussels sprouts and I *needed* it. There may have been a victory dance involved, and I immediately started plotting which of my usual go-to recipes I would make. But then the days passed and I never had the opportunity to make the sprouts for lunch, the only meal for which the Godfather (also resident hater of the Brussels sprouts) is not typically home. Sprouts for dinner it was, and so I set out to create a recipe I thought he would enjoy. Enter bacon.
Most carnivores like bacon, and I figured that combining a strong/sweet acid like a good balsamic vinegar and the salty fat from the bacon with the meaty-green/earthy flavor of the Brussels sprouts would be just the thing.
I’d never made an entire stalk before, and it’s not required for this recipe. I’m not sure I would make the stalk again just because it sat on the pan rather awkwardly, but I did get more sprouts out of the stalk then I would out of a pint container, so maybe? But I can get more onto a pan if I don’t use the stalk, so if I’m doubling to make for a crowd, then definitely no stalk. If you plan to make this with “shucked” Brussels sprouts, I would just lay the bacon strips on top, covering as much surface area as possible. I would also recommend using a good quality aged balsamic. They’re not expensive, and because they add so much flavor to the dish, the quality will shine through.
If you plan on making this clean eating (no sugar), be sure to use the sugar-free bacon. It’s usually labeled as paleo-friendly and I found some locally (Northern Virginia) at Whole Foods and a butcher in Ashburn.
And if you’re wondering about the Godfather’s verdict… he loved them! I got the approval to make them again. Yippee!
- 1 stalk Brussels sprouts (or about 1.5-2 lbs)
- 6 slices thick cut bacon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat your oven to 400
- Thoroughly wash and pat dry the Brussels sprouts, removing any obviously dead leaves.*
- Wrap the stalk in bacon, laying each strip of bacon diagonally so as to cover the most area. Drizzle the olive oil over the sprouts to coat.
- Roast 35-45 minutes until the sprouts are easily pierced by a fork. Turn the stalk halfway through. The bacon will fall off, its okay, just drape it over the stalk again as best you can (it doesn't have to be perfect).
- When the sprouts are done, remove from the oven. Remove the bacon and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
- Trim the sprouts from the stalk and place into a large bowl. Add the bacon and balsamic, toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.