Thanksgiving is about tradition, comfort food and family. But it is also fun to shake it up a little, and I just love this dish for the juxtaposition of the traditional (a roasted root vegetable and bacon) and the kicked-up punch from bacon-jalapeño jam with the surprise addition of dried cranberries. The Brussels Sprouts are almost blackened, the jam provides a sweetness and an almost caramelized texture, and the bite of the jalapeño is balanced by the tartness of the cranberries and welcome crunch of the salty bacon. Yum! It’s almost a spicy Brussels sprout hash, and passed the Grill-Meister test – he who hates vegetables, and especially root vegetables, had two servings! The double-baconizing of these little root vegetables might have something to do with it.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries, Bacon and Bacon-Jalapeño Jam
- 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 3 tbsp olive oil (you may need more)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks
- 2 slices of very thick bacon, cut into 1/4 strips
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup bacon-jalapeño jam (or pepper jelly if you can’t find bacon-jalapeño jam – see below)
- more salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with foil, then put the trimmed and halved sprouts on the sheet and toss with the 3 tbsp of olive, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, then roast for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, remove the sprouts and stir them to ensure that they are roasting on all sides, adding a little more olive oil, if necessary. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, and repeat, roasting for about 5 more minutes until they are mostly browned (it may not take this long).
During the last 10 minutes the sprouts are roasting, sauté the bacon and leeks until the bacon is done to your liking (I like it medium-crisp for this dish). If there is excess bacon fat (more than you feel comfortable with), remove it with a spoon and reserve for another use. Add the bacon-jalapeño jam and cranberries and stir to mix, then add the Brussels sprouts and toss to ensure that it is all mixed together. It will be very sticky and almost caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve warm, and get ready for the kudos.
About the Bacon-Jalapeño Jam
Followers of this blog know that it is not commercial and I don’t accept ads or do paid endorsements, but I do share info about products that I use and love. You’ll also have heard of Just Pure Flavors, our local (wonderful) purveyor of fresh, professionally made jams. It’s their bacon-jalapeño jam that inspired this recipe, and I highly recommend it. I found Just Pure Flavors a few years ago at our local farmers market in Tomball, TX (a suburb of Houston to the Northwest), but luckily for you, they also do a booming mail order business. You couldn’t get this jam in time for Thanksgiving, but Christmas is another story. In fact, these jams often end up in Christmas stockings at Glover Gardens.
Or Un-“Baconize” and Go Vegetarian
Note to my vegetarian friends – you could make a beautiful and tasty vegetarian version by using pepper jelly (or the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors) instead of the bacon jam, and substituting olive oil and a mix of dried and reconstituted mushrooms for the bacon. A little bit of ground dried mushrooms would also add a wonderful umami depth. Let me know if you try it!
Just Pure Flavors has inspired quite a few recipes and been mentioned here quite a bit i click here to scroll through them if you’re interested. I love supporting local businesses, and in fact, this post is in support of Small Business Saturday, coming up this weekend.
Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook