Brussels sprouts are hated by many, purely because on the recipients first taste testing of this wonderful nutritious and versatile vegetable, they were probably cooked in their natural state - steamed or boiled. Brussels have a very "green" taste and so newcomers can totally be turned away unless we take a different approach to their cooking. So, if you are one of those people, then we need to convert this "mini cabbage" into a tasty side dish so that we can make you a believer. And - I believe that I can!
Nutrition/Selecting and Storing your Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins A and C, Iron, Potassium and fiber - they are so good for you. When selecting your sprouts, you should look for tight-packed ones - meaning that when you squeeze them they should be firm. Loose outer leaves are okay - we will remove these during preparation. Sprouts are in season from mid-October to the beginning of March when they have the best flavor - so take advantage of this.
During the holiday months such as Thanksgiving in America and Christmastime around the world, you will often see the sprouts being sold on stalks. They look very attractive and will be fresher on the stalk rather than picked and stored on the grocery shelf. However, if they are sold by the pound on the stalk your purchase will be overly expensive. If they are sold by "each" then you should compare the prices for them being sold off of the stalk as opposed to on it, because when a veggie is in season it is usually sold at a lower price, just because of the abundance of the crop.
If you store your sprouts in the refrigerator and the leaves become yellow, they will have a strong odor. I urge you to purchase them when you need to use them - that means as soon as possible. So buy fresh and use fresh!
I made believers out of my family - they were Brussels sprout haters and they love this recipe of which I never make enough. I hope you convert your sprout-hater friends and family with this delicious Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Leeks recipe. This is a 2-step recipe, so simple, addicting, nutritious and delicious. Enjoy!
Please read my Chef's Notes & Tips at the end of the recipe for other ways to use Brussel Sprouts.
2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 large leeks, washed and sliced
(white & light green parts only)
1 large yellow onion, diced
1/2 - 1 lb. smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. ground sage (or 1/2 cup chopped fresh sage)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. First, rinse and trim the sprouts by pulling off any loose or discolored leaves. Slice off the tough root end and then slice the sprouts in half lengthways. Set aside into a shallow casserole dish.
2. Add the leeks, bacon, onions, salt, pepper, sage and olive oil to the sprouts and mix well. Roast in the oven for approximately 30 - 40 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, until the sprouts gain some wonderful dark roasted color. Keep an eye on them!
Chef's Notes & Tips
Most people think they have to cook Brussels sprouts in their whole form or cut them in half. Nothing could be further from the truth. Treat the sprout like any other veggie by slicing or chopping it! But remember, the smaller it becomes after preparation, the less time it will need to cook.
Other ways to use sprouts in recipes:-
Stir frying: - By removing the root end of the sprout, you can pull the leaves apart and use them in a stir-fry recipe by just sautéing them until they turn a deep green color.
Soups/Stews: - Add Brussels in their raw state for the last 10 minutes (halved or sliced in soups) or whole in stews for 30-40 minutes. They will add wonderful nutritional benefits to your recipes and give your dishes some great texture.