Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Glaze Recipe

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Glaze Recipe
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About This Recipe

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Glaze is a dish that I've been perfecting for quite some time. As a Napa Valley local and passionate home chef, I've always been inspired by the flavors and ingredients found in this region. This dish showcases some of the best elements of Napa, from the rich balsamic glaze to the smoky bacon, and of course, the fresh Brussels sprouts. The glaze adds a touch of sweetness that's reminiscent of the vineyards and their luscious grapes, while the bacon provides a smoky, savory note that complements the caramelized Brussels sprouts beautifully.

Pairing this dish with a bold Napa Valley red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Tempranillo, is an excellent choice for an unforgettable meal. Some local wineries to consider for your wine selection include Frog's Leap Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery, and Cakebread Cellars. Each of these wineries offers something unique and embodies the essence of Napa Valley.

To elevate your dining experience, consider serving a simple, light side dish to complement the robust flavors of the Brussels sprouts, such as a mixed green salad with a lemon vinaigrette or a side of quinoa with toasted almonds and dried cranberries. For dessert, you can't go wrong with a locally-sourced cheese plate featuring goat cheese, blue cheese, and Gouda, paired with seasonal fruits and a drizzle of honey.

The best part about this recipe is the use of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. The Brussels sprouts can be found at many of the local farmers' markets, such as the St. Helena Farmers' Market or the Napa Farmers' Market. The balsamic glaze can be sourced from one of the many specialty food shops in the area, like Olivier Napa Valley or Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company.

Napa Valley is known not only for its world-class wines but also for its commitment to sustainable, farm-to-table dining. This dish celebrates that ethos by using locally-sourced ingredients and showcasing the best flavors of the region. Whether you're a long-time Napa Valley resident or a visitor looking to bring home a taste of wine country, this recipe is perfect for you.

As you enjoy your Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Glaze, take a moment to appreciate the beautiful surroundings and the rich history of the Napa Valley. From its humble beginnings in the 1800s to its current status as a world-renowned wine region, Napa has always been a place where good food, great wine, and a love for the land come together.

Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

H2: Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a culinary delight, often overlooked but packed with a rich, nutty flavor, especially when caramelized. Native to the Mediterranean region, these small, leafy green buds resemble miniature cabbages. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, Brussels sprouts bring not just flavor but a wealth of health benefits to the table. Their unique taste becomes exceptionally pronounced when roasted, making them an ideal partner for robust flavors like bacon and balsamic glaze, as seen in this Napa Valley-inspired dish.

How to Achieve Perfectly Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

  1. Choose Fresh Sprouts: Look for firm, bright green sprouts without yellow or wilted leaves. Size matters – the smaller the sprout, the sweeter it tends to be.
  2. Trim and Halve: Cut off the stem end and remove any outer leaves that are loose or discolored. Cut them in half from top to stem to ensure even cooking.
  3. High Heat is Key: Whether roasting in the oven or sautéing on the stovetop, use medium-high to high heat. This ensures the sugars in the sprouts caramelize quickly.
  4. Cut-Side Down: Always start by placing them cut-side down in the skillet. This technique achieves that delicious golden-brown caramelization.

FAQs

  1. Can I substitute the bacon for a vegetarian option? Absolutely! For a vegetarian variant, you can use smoked tempeh or mushroom bacon as an alternative. Both options provide a smoky essence similar to bacon.
  2. How do I store leftover Brussels sprouts? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them in a skillet or oven to maintain crispiness.
  3. Can I use balsamic vinegar instead of balsamic glaze? Yes, but remember, balsamic vinegar is thinner and less sweet. You can reduce balsamic vinegar on the stove with a touch of sugar to achieve a glaze-like consistency.
  4. What other cheeses pair well with this dish? While shaved Parmesan is suggested, other great cheese options include crumbled feta, grated pecorino, or even goat cheese.
  5. What type of skillet works best for this recipe? A cast-iron skillet is recommended as it retains heat well, transfers from stovetop to oven seamlessly, and aids in achieving a wonderful caramelization on the sprouts.

Tips for Success

  1. Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Give your Brussels sprouts space in the skillet. Overcrowding can cause them to steam instead of caramelize.
  2. Use Quality Olive Oil: A good-quality olive oil will not only prevent sticking but will also enhance the flavor profile of the dish.
  3. Monitor Your Heat: While high heat is essential for caramelization, ensure it’s not too high to avoid burning. Regularly check the sprouts as they cook.

Recipe Overview

Recipe:
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic Glaze Recipe
Author:
Lily Anderson
Season:
Winter
Yield:
4 servings
Calories Per Serving:
54
Prep Time:
PT10M
Cook Time:
PT35M
Total Time:
PT45M

Ingredients List

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • Optional: shaved Parmesan cheese for garnish

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a large oven-safe skillet, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Add the olive oil to the skillet with the bacon grease. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut-side down, to the skillet. Cook until they start to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and roast the Brussels sprouts for 20-25 minutes or until tender and caramelized.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven, and add the cooked bacon back to the skillet, stirring gently to combine.
  6. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the Brussels sprouts and bacon, tossing to coat evenly.
  7. If desired, garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese before serving.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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