So yeah I’ve kinda been holding out on you guys in regards to this recipe. You see I first made this recipe about a week before Thanksgiving (yes, Thanksgiving) as a test batch. I had bought a 3 or 4 pound bag of fresh Brussels Sprouts at Sam’s Club earlier that morning because I knew I wanted to make some type of sprouts dish for the holidays. But again, this was like a 4 pound bag…for 2 people. Yeah, wayyyyyyyyyy too many sprouts. I’ll be sharing in a very soon to be published post on how to flash freeze fresh sprouts!
Anyway, Mr. Fantabulous was busy working on his company so I decided to whip up a simple snack for me. I was going to go with my shaved Brussels sprout salad but wasn’t in a salad mood. So like most times when I’m hungry I open up the fridge and stick my head in just to see what tickles my fancy and that’s when I spied some pecan roasted thick cut bacon I got from the butcher. OH YEAH!!! It’s on!!!
Out came the bacon and then, I got that look. You know that devilish evil look that the Grinch gives when he comes up with the plan to steal all of the presents from Whoville? Or that Muahahahaha laugh Dr. Evil gives when he just comes up with a sinister plan? Yeah, that was me totally!
Like you guys all know there are 3 things in this world I absolutely love – pizza, Mr. Fantabulous and bacon (not necessarily in that order though… lol) so when I spied that bacon I seriously was giddy!
Now if you don’t like candied bacon or need to watch your sugar intake you can totally omit the brown sugar (you could try perhaps a savory flavor – ginger and soy, hoisin and honey) but no for me I wanted the sweetness of the brown sugar to not only infuse and caramelize the bacon as it crisped up but also to help offset the sometimes bitterness of the Brussels sprouts. For me it took a few tries to get the hang of wrapping my sprouts as I was cutting my bacon too short. When you cut your bacon either cut it in half or thirds (obviously though if your sprouts are abnormally large then just trim the bacon). You want to wrap it snuggly but without stretching the bacon. AND you want the ends not just to touch but to overlap by about a 1/2″. When you cook or bake bacon, it shrinks. So if you stretch it or just barely touch the ends what you’ll end up with is a half nekkid sprout and nobody, nobody wants a nekkid sprout.
So into the oven the pan went and just like when you make normal candied bacon, you need to flip the bacon over to help crisp up the other side. Yes, you need to do this even when you are baking it on a cooling rack. Once they were flipped and I got that whiff of sizzling bacon and the caramelized sugars I was seriously slobbering here for these Brussels sprouts!
God.. if my parents were still alive and they heard me say that I was dying to eat Brussels sprout they’d NEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER believe it. OMG as a kid if you even joked about making me eat a funky little green thing I was calling Grandma on you and ohhhhhhhhhhhh you were in deep trouble!
Anyway, once the pan was done I was presented with sizzling sprouts that were just begging to be eaten BUT they had to rest just for a few as I didn’t want to burn off the first 5 layers of skin in my mouth (yeah trust me on this, you learn the hard way). Finally when it was time to inhale…
errrrr I mean when it was time to sit at the table all ladylike, with white linen napkin on her lap, knife in one hand, fork in the other and daintily sliced into…
Yeah screw that, I was diving in with my fingers.
I popped a little one in my mouth and at first bite I was like “WOW, this is really good” but….
yeah, but…. It was really good yet it was missing something. Like you could taste the candied bacon and how those flavors infused into the sprout but it just was not finished. Kinda like when you make a salad, you put all of your favorite items in it, add your dressing and take a bite. It’s really good but for me, it’s that grind or two of fresh black pepper that just brings my salad to life. That’s what they needed. Then I realized what it was. Normally when I make sprouts albeit plain (oven roasted) or in a dish there is always some type of glaze on it.
I didn’t want to add a sauce and we already had the sweet, salty and slightly bitter elements covered. I needed a tangy bit to truly round out the flavor.
Into the fridge my head went and that’s when I spied the Dijon mustard. Now I have a love/hate relationship with this stuff. I hate it on its own – it’s too powerful/strong of a taste for me but I LOVE it when it’s mixed with something. Out come the Dijon and real maple syrup. No, you cannot use the fake crap. It’s yucky and well.. no, there is no justification for it. Too harsh? Sorry but seriously.. no, use the real stuff.
After whisking the two together to make a thicker drizzle (remember the sprouts are still hot so the glaze will melt and coat the little pieces of sprout nuggets from heaven), I slowly drizzled it over the candied bacon sprouts. OMG folks the aroma that hit my nose when that maple Dijon glaze hit the hot sizzle bacon was EPIC! Like literally the aroma Gods jumped up and planted a bit fat wet one on me! I then used a fork instead of my fingers and proceeded to eat the ENTIRE plate for lunch. Now granted there were only about 8 on the plate but still when you admit you ate an entire plate of anything you tend to feel just a twinge of guilt.
So if you want to impress your guest with something that looks Fancy Schmancy but is totally Easy Peasy to make then make this for them! With the holidays coming up this would be awesome as a side dish! Or hey, your doctor tells you to eat more greens… he just never said you weren’t allowed to wrap them in bacon. LOL
PLUS we all know most kids don’t eat/won’t try Brussels sprouts – make this and set it on the table. They’ll try it and if they don’t fall in love with this dish – well, tell them you love the other kid more. J/K LOL This is the dish to end all dishes to get someone to try to fall in love with the sprout!Print
- 1lb Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed
- 10–12 slices thick cut smoked bacon
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2–3 Tbl real maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 400F, rack in the middle.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an oven safe cooling rack down in.
- Depending on the size of your sprouts, cut your bacon in half or thirds.
- Coat each side of bacon with the brown sugar and then wrap snuggly around the sprout ensuring the ends overlap by 1/2″.
- Lay the sprout bacon seam side down on the cooling rack in the pan.
- Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and gently turn over trying to keep your bacon still intact.
- Place the pan back in the oven and roast for another 15 minutes or until the bacon has crisped up (remember it will crisp even more as it rests) and the sprouts pierce easily with a knife.
- While the sprouts rest for a minute whisk together the Dijon mustard and syrup.
- Plate the sprouts and drizzle the maple Dijon glaze over top.