Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Nuts & Dates

The complementary flavours of crisp smoky bacon and slightly sweet walnuts make a heavenly autumn side dish that comes together quickly and easily, perfect for any special holiday meal. R
oasted until golden and caramelized, then bathed in a maple-balsamic vinaigrette and topped with crisp bacon, toasted pecans and sliced dates, these brussels sprouts are sure to become a classic family favourite.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Walnuts & Dates
Serves 4

1 lb fresh brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
6 slices thick cut bacon or pancetta, chopped
1/2 cup walnut or pecan pieces 
1/3 cup thinly sliced dried pitted dates
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut off the ends of the brussels sprouts, slice them in half lengthwise, and remove any browned or yellow leaves. Toss the sprouts in olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread the sprouts into a single layer, cut side down and roast for 45 to 60 minutes. Occasionally toss the sprouts as they cook, to promote even browning.

While the brussels sprouts are cooking, prepare the bacon and walnuts. Warm a pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned and slightly crispy. Carefully pour off the excess bacon fat, leaving a tablespoon or two in the pan. Add the walnuts and continue cooking for another minute or two.

During the last 15 minutes of the brussels sprouts cooking time, pour the bacon, walnuts, and remaining bacon fat over the sprouts, tossing well. Continue cooking until the  sprouts are tender, but not mushy. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer the sprouts to a warmed serving bowl, and mix in the sliced dates, syrup, vinegar, onions, thyme and lemon zest and serve.

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