Bacon Brussel Sprouts

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Kiddo has always been a funny creature when it comes to food. (I've often wondered how two people who can and will eat darn near anything could have bred such a persnickety child.)

Though terribly picky throughout most of his life, he has always gravitated toward obscure, less kid-friendly foods. It defies reason that a 6-year-old, who ate precisely four things, and only if prepared just so, would not only beg for fiddleheads at the grocery store, but declare them to be one of the best things he'd ever tasted. (It took a little research on my part to figure out how to prepare them. Apparently they can be toxic if not cooked properly? Just what a mother wants to hear. But when you have a picky eater, you'll do just about anything to add a little variety to the dinner table.)

Another of his favorites is Brussels sprouts. A few years ago we got a couple stocks in our CSA, leaving me a tad stumped when it came to preparing them. There's the steaming method, which leaves them flavorless and soggy, but I was looking for something more sophisticated. And so I took to The Google, as any inquisitive cook does.

We settled on Emeril Lagasse's Bacon Brussels Sprouts recipe and the rest, they say, is history. These Brussels sprouts have become a mainstay in our house, and have even graced the Thanksgiving table a time or two. Any leftovers we may have don't last more than a day or so. (They've been an after school snack request more than once. Truth.) I'm a fan of having a collection of standbys that everyone likes. In fact, that pretty much sums up how I roll in the kitchen.

I've made this enough that I no longer need to consult a recipe, but the same fundamental ingredients are always present: fresh Brussels sprouts (duh), bacon, and thinly sliced onion (red, yellow, Spanish... they all work just fine). Slice the bacon/cook in a large pan/remove the bacon/add the onion and cook until caramelized/throw in the sprouts (and any other veggies you want to include)/cook until the sprouts are crunchy but not raw (I cover the pan for a few minutes to get the right amount of softness)/add the bacon back in and serve.

Kiddo usually eats them straight up, but I've added dried cranberries, (extra) garlic, almonds, sunflower seeds, and a variety of other additions to please the adult palate. Most recently, I crumbled some really good blue cheese over the top and served it for lunch.

This makes a great side, but we've also had it as a main course. It's that good.

Next up: learning how to make his newest obsession, Borscht. Help? 

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