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Brussels Sprouts? Yes, please.

November 10, 2010

Meet Margaux. Margaux is my roommate and my guinea pig. Margaux will happily try anything and quite happily, scrape her plate clean. I have placed countless bowls and plates in front of her; some filled with delicious morsels of my best cooking, and others with slightly questionable fare. Margaux will really eat anything. Almost. The girl who will knowingly eat pasta with anchovies will put her foot down at one thing and one thing only. BRUSSELS SPROUTS. The mere thought makes her gag a little. She just cant do it.

Well, I turned her into a believer. A brussels sprouts believer. I stopped by the Copley Square farmers market on Tuesday and picked up a pound of fresh, local brussels sprouts from Sienna Farms. I will admit, I have my own reservations concerning this vegetable. When overcooked or steamed, they become mushy, smelly, bitter and just inedible. Their reputation, when made in this way, is not false. Children for centuries more will be stuck at the table, plate cleaned except a pile of over cooked brussels sprouts, waiting for the dog to stop by or mom to look away so they can be quickly disposed of in one way or another. Since they are in season though, I thought I might give them a second chance. Via Orangette, I found this recipe and it’s a keeper; a perfect fall side dish and a possible addition to the thanksgiving table. If Margaux will eat it, you can eat it. I promise it will convert you.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Apples and Onions, with Balsamic Glaze
Adapted from Stephen Cooks

1 lb Brussels sprouts
6 slices bacon
1 T mustard seeds
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in crescents
1 tart crisp apple (I used a Granny Smith), peeled, cored, cut in crescents
1 T brown sugar (the original recipe called for 3, but I only used 1 and am glad because it was still pretty sweet)
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 C dry white wine
1 T Dijon mustard
olive oil
Garlic Chili sauce, to taste

Trim the root ends of the sprouts, remove dried outer leaves and cut each sprout in half. Toss with a tablespoonful or so of olive oil and roast uncovered in a preheated 325º oven about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove when the sprouts are cooked through and starting to brown and char along the edges.

Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to contain all the ingredients, sauté the bacon until just starting to crisp at the edges and remove to drain on paper towel. Pour all but 1 T of the bacon grease from the pan and discard. Add the mustard seeds to the pan and stir over medium high heat until they start to pop. Add the onions and apples, lower the heat to medium and sauté , stirring occasionally, until starting to turn soft, about 5 or 6 minutes. Stir in the sugar, wine and vinegar, raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring, several minutes until the liquid is reduced to a syrup. Remove from heat and stir in the mustard and garlic chili sauce.

Chop bacon and add along with the roasted sprouts.

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