Flavor Bomb Alert!

Brussel Sprouts… You either love them or hate them is what I find. Growing up my yuckiest memories are of boiled dead brussel sprouts. So overcooked and mushy that no amount of butter or salt would fix them. And for the love of all brussel sprouts do not let those babies get cold! Gross!

I am not sure what prompted the Grams to make them like that ( i do, she was a bad cook, shhhhh). I can say that I can’t remember one comment around the dinner table raving about how good the over boiled brussel sprouts were as we weren’t a very diverse vegetable family.

Vegetables other than corn, green beans, tomatoes, cucumber, and boiled brussel sprouts didn’t really make it into our house. If it didn’t fall into one of those categories it was pretty foreign to me and the rest of the household.

As I got older and moved around the county I learned more about culinary diversity. I realized there was a whole world out there that I had missed as a child. Such as eggplant??? What the heck is this giant bulbous purple thing?? Artichoke…no, no spiny pointy flowers that you scrap and eat. Asparagus? It looks like tall pine trees!

But today…..give me all the vegetables, even the spiny pointy flower. We eat almost anything we can get our hands on in our house. Except …OKRA …. Never OKRA! Ever! … let’s repeat … NEVER EVER!

Over the last few years, I have seen the lonely unadorned brussel sprout blossom into these flavor-packed side dishes that could almost pass as a main course. Sweet, tangy, spicy, charred, bacon, you name it. They are taking over the vegetable flavor show.

There is a local restaurant here in my area that has a side of brussels that the sauce is to die for. My mouth literally starts salivating when I think about this dish. It has just a hint of dijon that shines through the balsamic glaze that delights the taste buds. Today, I thought I would try and recreate it a bit with my spin and some additional goodies to spice it up a bit.

Let’s get started on how we made these…

First up that cast of characters. If you pay attention you will see which one I missed in this shot in another photo. Sorry, I’m new at this.

First we are going to hydrate some dried cherries. Just half a cup into a bowl and cover with water. When hydrated do a rough chop on them and set aside.

Up next we are going to start our bacon. We start this in a cold pan and I like to cut them in half so that they are more manageable to flip. Keep this at a low medium heat as we want to render out the fat so we can sautee our brussel sprouts in them. Shhhh, nothing to see here.

While the bacon is rendering out and getting crisp we are going to clean our brussel sprouts. Trim off the bottom edge, peel back and discard the outer leaves and cut into quarters.

When your bacon is cooked, dab with a paper towel to remove excess fat. Then drain the pan of all grease except for 2 tablespoons. Chop your bacon into medium pieces and set aside.

Here comes the flavor

We are going to make the sauce for this dish while bacon continues to render. For this, we want a sweet and spicy type glaze with a hint of a tang for the dijon and the balsamic.

We are going to mix the honey, sriracha, dijon, and tamari in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds until the honey thins a bit, then whisk together with the balsamic.

Once this sauce gets poured over the dish it turns into a beautiful sticky glaze that coats the brussel sprouts and bacon to perfection.

Star of the Show

Put your skillet back on the burner and turn your heat up to medium and place your brussel sprouts in the pan. You should hear an immediate sizzle once they hit the pan or it isn’t hot enough.

Now, this next step might be controversial. After you get a nice brown on the sprouts, take a quarter cup of water pour it in and lid the pan. This gives them a little steam to make sure they cook through. This should take 2 minutes at most. DO NOT LET THEM GET SOGGY. Remove the lid and let the water evaporate.

Add your bacon in and mix to combine. Pour your sauce over the mixture and stir to make sure everything is coated evenly.  Let it cook out a bit till it forms a nice glaze over everything while continuing to stir.

Now you are going to turn the heat off and stir in your chopped cherries and plate on a serving platter. Top with your pickled onions and use your vegetable peeler to shave some parmigiano reggiano over it. Ta Daaaa! You are done.

I hope you enjoy this side dish as much as we did. Just as an FYI we served it with the grilled lamb lollipops with Zatar spice.

Servings:

4

 Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

45

Sweet & Spicy Brussel Sprouts

1 package Brussel Sprouts

6 strips of Bacon

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup of water

Pickled onions – optional

For the Sauce

1 tablespoon of honey

1 tablespoon of sriracha

1 tablespoon of dijon

2 tablespoons of tamari, coconut aminos or soy sauce

3/4 of a tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar

 

Preparation

  • Place dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with water. Let sit till hydrated and then give them a rough chop.
  • Slice bacon strip in half and put in a cold fry pan on medium-low heat. Render fat out of bacon and chop into bite-sized pieces once cooled.
  • Clean and slice the brussel sprouts by removing the bottom of the stem and outer layer of leaves. Cut into quarters.
  • Mix all the ingredients of the sauce together except the balsamic and microwave in 15-second increments till whiskable, set aside.
  • Drain the pan of all bacon grease except for 2 tablespoons. If there is not enough grease add olive oil.
  • Turn heat to medium and wait for the temperature to come up before placing brussel sprouts in the pan. You should hear a sizzle when you put them in.
  • Sautee till brown then add a quarter cup of water and place lid on for no longer than 2 minutes to gently steam.
  • Remove lid and let remaining water evaporate and add bacon and sauce. Stir to coat and continue to stir to a glaze forms.
  • Remove from heat stir in chopped cherries and add to platter. Place pickled onions on top if you wish and shave parmesan. on to sprouts

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