Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts recipes are everywhere these days. Even other Paleo Pen Pal bloggers have had the same idea more than once in this month alone, making peppery orange versions and bacon, mango, onion renditions. Not to jump on the bandwagon, but when my June Paleo Pen Pal (hi, Kelli!) sent me maple vinegar as the challenge ingredient. I knew it would be perfect paired with bacon over Brussels sprouts. I’ve never attempted a Brussels sprouts recipe before–shhh!–so I was excited to get my hands on the tiny, wrinkly vegetable hailing from the cabbage family. I’ve seen enough Brussels sprouts recipes to know that they go together with bacon like peanut butter goes with jelly, and I further lightened the natural bitterness of the Brussels sprouts with shredded apple, almonds and the maple vinegar. The sourness of the vinegar brightens the fatty, savory flavor of the bacon with a welcome touch of acidity in perfect balance.
I was tempted to use cranberries for their festive red color, but cranberries sweetened with juice rather than refined sugar are pricey and difficult to source, so I decided to do a variation on that common Brussels sprouts + cranberries combination that subs red-skinned apple to achieve the same effect. Red Delicious apples are often mealy and waxy, so I opted for an exotic New Zealand variety called Eve whose crimson skin caught my eye amid the kaleidoscope of color in the Whole Foods produce section. Use whichever variety is available that will best balance taste, texture and color in your opinion!
- 1 lb brussels sprouts
- 1 tbsp bacon fat
- 4 rashers bacon
- 1 apple
- ⅔ cups slivered almonds
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp maple vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Wash and trim the Brussels sprouts, cutting off the woody base of each bud and removing any shriveled or discolored leaves.
- Halve or quarter each, then toss to coat in the bacon fat and spread evenly in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes or until soft and the outer leaves are crispy but not singed.
- Cook bacon over medium heat in a skillet until crispy. Remove to drain and cool on a paper towel-lined plate, then chop finely or whirl in a food processor until crumbled.
- Wash and core the apple. Dice or shred in a food processor, then combine with bacon in a medium mixing or serving bowl. Chop or process the slivered almonds into finer pieces in the same way before adding to the bacon and apple.
- Transfer the Brussels sprouts from the roasting pan to the mixing or serving bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and two teaspoons maple vinegar, or to taste. Toss thoroughly, serve warm.