Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Grapes: Three Variations (One Without Bacon)

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Brussels sprouts and bacon are a perfect match, a marriage of bitter, sweet, salty, and smoky, of crisp and soft, chewy and tender. They can be roasted together or cooked separately and combined before serving. When roasted together, the Brussels sprouts cook in the bacon fat and, well, while not the healthiest choice, they sure do taste good. This amazing flavor combination can be deepened with the addition of whole grapes. As they roast, they transform into a deep, mellow sweetness, and that adds a robust new flavor to the dish. A perfect forkful combines all three ingredients. Eat them on their own or as a side dish. If so inclined, add a little crown of whatever cheese tastes right to you.

Here are three variations: the first is the most luxurious; the second, a middle ground; and the third, bacon-less and arguably healthy.

1. Decadent Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Grapes

You’ll need:

◊   1 pound Brussels sprouts

◊   3 slices good bacon

◊   1 cup grapes, any color (feel free to include more or less than this, depending on how much sweetness you like)

◊   A small amount of olive oil

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Add to a roasting pan or sheet pan. Then add in the grapes whole. Pour a very small amount of olive oil over the Brussels sprouts and grapes and use your hands to ever-so-barely cover (we will be roasting the bacon in the pan, which will add lots of fat in which the ingredients will cook, but this bit of olive oil will help them along until the bacon has rendered). Cut bacon strips into pieces about 1.5 inches long. Add to roasting pan. Don’t crowd the pan; everything should be more or less in a single layer. Mix together the ingredients and put the pan in the hot oven.

After about 5 minutes, take it out of the oven and move the ingredients around to start to distribute the bacon fat. Then, place the pan back in the oven. Check every 5-10 minutes to move the ingredients around and monitor for doneness. You want the bacon crisp and rendered, the sprouts softened with a rich brown char and crisp outer leaves. The grapes  will wrinkle and shrink a bit, but they won’t break open unless you are too rough when mixing…so be gentle! They should be done after 30-35 minutes.

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2. Less Decadent Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Grapes

You’ll need:

◊   1 pound Brussels sprouts

◊   3 slices good bacon

◊   1 cup grapes, any color (feel free to include more or less than this, depending on how much sweetness you like)

◊   Olive oil

◊  A little kosher salt

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Add to roasting pan or sheet pan. Then add in the grapes whole. Don’t crowd the pan; everything should be in a single layer. Pour olive oil over the Brussels sprouts and grapes and use your hands to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and put in the hot oven. After ten minutes, take them out of the oven to check how fast they are cooking and move them around in the pan. Check them every five to ten minutes, and move them around as you see fit to ensure even cooking. But be gentle, trying not to break any grapes. They’ll roast for about 30-35 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts look softened and have a rich brown char and crispy outer leaves, and the grapes have reduced in size and look a bit shriveled.

While the Brussels sprouts and grapes are roasting, cut the bacon strips into 1.5-inch long pieces. Cook in a frying pan on the stove top until fat is rendered and the bacon begins to crisp up. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.

When the Brussels sprouts and grapes are done, add in the bacon pieces and gently mix them all together.

3. Pretty Healthy Brussels Sprouts, Grapes, and Walnuts

You’ll need:

◊   1 pound Brussels sprouts

◊   1 cup grapes, any color (feel free to include more or less than this, depending on how much sweetness you like)

◊   Olive oil

◊   Kosher salt

◊   About 3/4 cup walnuts, preferably halves, but large pieces are fine

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ 

Preheat oven to 400.

Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Add to roasting pan or sheet pan. Then add in the grapes whole. Don’t crowd the pan; everything should be in a single layer. Pour olive oil over the Brussels sprouts and grapes and use your hands to lightly coat them. Sprinkle with kosher salt and put in the hot oven. After ten minutes, take them out of the oven to check how fast they are cooking and move them all around. Check them every five to ten minutes, and move them around as you see fit to ensure even cooking. But be gentle, trying not to break any grapes. They’ll roast for about 30-35 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts look softened and have a nice golden brown char and crispy outer leaves, and the grapes have reduced in size and look a bit shriveled.

While the Brussels sprouts and grapes are roasting, spread the walnuts across a sheet pan in a single layer. Place them in the oven to toast for about five minutes, moving them around and flipping them at least once to ensure even toasting.

When the Brussels sprouts and grapes are done, add in the walnut pieces and gently mix them all together.

 


One thought on “Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Grapes: Three Variations (One Without Bacon)

  1. Anything tastes great with bacon. I can even get my kids to eat Brussel sprouts when I cook then with bacon. I also often add hoisin sauce. That makes them really happy . Next time I will add grapes. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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