This will not be a photo heavy post. I was lax in my photographic efforts while making Christmas dinner, and only took a few not so great shots of my Brussels sprouts with bacon and cranberry side dish. Truthfully, however, I was probably lax in my photography efforts because I had spent a great deal of my time, before dinner preparations, taking photos like this…
So…you can see, I’m sure, why the Brussels sprouts did not get top billing. It should be noted that no canines were harmed in the photo session hysterics! In fact, Izzy (the boxer) liked her antlers so much she kept them on for most of the day…it was especially fun to watch her run/gallop/sprint across the back yard wearing her Christmas antlers.
But silly pet pics are not the reason you’re here, so I’ll get on with it…
You need THREE simple ingredients…
1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 lb. bacon, cut in 1/2 inch strips
1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries
and you need ONE pan — a large (12 inch) skillet that is oven safe
Here’s what you do…
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
2. Cut the bacon into half-inch strips and fry until just done…they should be kinda like good veggies here, tender crisp, but not super crispy. When they’re done, pull them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and set them aside to drain on a paper towel.
3. Pull the skillet off the heat and put the halved sprouts and the cranberries in the pan and toss to coat in the bacon drippings….oh yeah….no extra oil needed here. Just bacon, sprout and cranberry deliciousness.
4. When the sprouts and cranberries are coated (they will look glossy) in the bacon drippings (sounds so much more gourmet than grease), put the skillet in the oven and roast the sprouts 15-20 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and caramelized (browned at the edges for those of you who don’t cook a lot).
5. Pull the pan from the oven and toss the sprouts and cranberries with the bacon you cooked earlier. (Be careful of the handle here…I have grabbed a hot handle and it is NOT a pleasant experience. To prevent this, I often put an oven mit on the end of the handle once I get it out of the oven.)
You’re done…simple, delicious, and not too far from nutritious. Sure, you’re using the bacon drippings and bacon, but all of the food is REAL food and this isn’t a dish you eat every single day. If you wanted to, you could just sub olive oil for the bacon drippings and use a product like real bacon bits to get some of the flavor with way less fat. You can also add salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t add either, but you should always season to your taste. If you think this needs it, go ahead!
When you’re done, you get this…
And what’s not to love about that?
In general, roasting veggies is one of the best ways to prepare them, especially in the winter. It brings out their sweetness and is such an easy way to get your veggies cooked. Depending on the temperature, roasting takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. It’s a relatively hands-free and fool-proof way to prepare your veggies and the results are always delicious. I love to roast carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, asparagus, potatoes, and even tomatoes. You can roast just about any firm veggie and once the veggies are roasted, you can use them as a side or toss them with some yummy whole grain pasta for a great entrée. Simple…nutritious…delicious!