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brussels sprouts with bacon

I know I’m likely in the minority in this regard, but I love Brussels sprouts. They are yet another fall ritual. I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who will eat almost anything put in front of him…and even luckier that he also loves Brussels sprouts. Of course bacon makes everything better, so we basically add it to any roasted vegetable dish we make, most notably with turnips, butternut squash, and beets (or all of the above in this maple-glazed recipe).

I originally got the idea to roast Brussels sprouts from Guy Fieri; I’ll take any excuse I can get to use my perfectly-seasoned cast iron skillet. A skillet has been basically the only tool my Dad uses in the kitchen, and I watched closely over the years while he made spaghetti sauce or pancakes in it, lovingly and carefully cleaning and drying the skillet afterward. I always think of my Dad when I use mine, which was one of my first kitchen purchases after college.

I have tweaked this recipe over the years until it has become my own. The tweaking began when I came across pomegranate molasses in a Halal butcher shop, where we were buying a goat leg to make Jamaican curry goat (more about this splendid dish in a post to come). I love it because it is sweet but also quite tangy, and it has a beautiful ruby color. It is a great substitute for balsamic vinegar to caramelize a pork tenderloin.

Pomegranate molasses may be difficult to find, although if you’re ok with the expense I know you can get it at Whole Foods, and I recently saw it at Trader Joe’s too. If you’re feeling spunky, you can also try Alton Brown’s homemade version. I’ve never tried making my own, but if you haven’t cooked a recipe of AB’s before, here’s a word to the wise: he doesn’t seem to mind suffering for his craft and can make some lengthy dishes that are in my opinion too much work.

A quick Interwebs search for similar recipes to my own turned up this one with pecans and cranberries; clearly tart and nuts go well with veggies and bacon. EVERYTHING goes with bacon.

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Brussels sprouts with bacon

3-4 cups Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
1/2 cup pine nuts
6 strips bacon, cut in pieces
olive oil
pomegranate molasses (or substitute with balsamic vinegar)
pomegranate seeds
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degF. Toast pine nuts in cast-iron skillet and set aside. Saute bacon until crisp and set aside. Add olive oil and Brussels sprouts, and caramelize. Add salt and pepper, more oil, and pomegranate molasses (a couple of drizzles around the pan). Toss and put in oven for 15-20 minutes. Toss finished product with pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts.

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