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"What's for Dinner Honey?" Rick's Roast Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Maple Balsamic Vinagrette


"What's for Dinner Honey?"

Have you noticed?  Brussels sprouts are the new kale.  They're on every foodie menu-- What?? they have some miserable mealtime history to overcome.  We remember sprouts from our childhood, boiled into soggy submission and sadly served, all in the name of the food pyramid.  Ugh. 

So when we found ourselves at dinner with Rick Lyons uber dad-chef {find his fabulous fish chowder here} we jumped at the chance to ask him what he would do with the little green globes.  "Roast and toss with a maple syrup vinaigrette"  he responded immediately {Really, we're not kidding.  He didn't hesitate.  Like he had an index of brussels-sprouts-only recipes in his frontal cortex.  A lightning-fast decision, as easy as Snickers or Milky Way, California or Florida, clogs or stilettos..} 

"Yes, make it with bacon!" Margaret added.  Of course!  Once said, it was obvious-- sweet, tangy, smoky, brussel-y deliciousness was within reach. Sort of.

Rick is one of those confident chefs who just throws dishes together, no recipes, no combing through Ina or Martha or Jamie.  So that left us to roast and reduce all day trying to figure out the recipe.  Here it is in two versions:

Version 1: As Rick envisioned it, with a maple syrup / balsamic vinegar reduction.  Sweet and smoky.

Version 2: With a maple syrup / cider vinegar reduction. Sweet and tangy.

Either way, put the kibosh on kale, and bust out the brussels. 

Roast Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Maple Balsamic Reduction: From Rick Lyons

2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
6 strips of good bacon
4 minced shallots
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Grab a large skillet. You'll use this for most of the cooking.

Toss bacon into said skillet, cook until very crispy. Remove from pan, drain, chop, and set aside.

Add shallots to skillet and saute until soft and beginning to caramelize. Remove and reserve with the bacon.

Toss brussels sprouts into the bacon-y, shallot-y skillet, cut side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes until they're a little brown on the cut side.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast sprouts for 15-20 minutes, until tender. If needed, add a bit of water to the skillet to steam them through. {I'd just like to say at this juncture that al-dente brussels sprouts are ick, and I have to imagine they're not very colon friendly…just saying}

Now take the nicely roasted sprouts out of the oven and toss into a serving dish with the bacon and shallots. 

Add vinegar {balsamic or cider vinegar- your choice}  and maple syrup to the skillet and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half and is um….syrupy.

Pour over the sprout mixture and toss with thyme. 

Serves 6 people as many brussels sprouts as they'd like to eat in one meal.