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Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn Falls In: Bacon-Pecan Brussels Sprouts Saute

baconbrusselssprouts1

Today is the Autumnal Equinox. An equinox is "either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect." For the rest of us, it's one of two times each year when the Sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are the same length. Today, at 11:44:18 a.m. EDT, the Sun will have crossed the celestial equator, from north to south, marking the beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

In most other parts of the world, there would be obvious signs hinting of this day; a crispness in the air, touches of yellows and orange at the tops of the trees, a kiss of morning mist. But in the South, Autumn sneaks in on tiptoes. An early morning 75 degrees this past few days has felt distinctly different from the early morning 75 degrees two weeks ago. And the air looks just the merest touch clearer - the curves and angles of the landscape ever so slightly sharper. The change is barely perceptible, but I know it's there. I can see it. I can feel it too.

Harvest_moon

And then there's the moon. That magnificent harvest moon that makes an appearance around the same time each year! A few nights ago, as I was driving home from a meeting, I saw it. A giant, red-tinged golden orb in the sky, gilding everything below it with its warm, shimmering light.

brusselssprouts3

Another harbinger of Autumn's arrival is seen in our gardens and our markets. A profusion of Fall fruits and vegetables have been popping up all over. Crisp apples, juicy pears, grapes, butternut squash and pumpkins, among others, are beginning to line the shelves in the produce department, waiting to be transformed into pies, tarts, soups and the like.

champagnegrapes

I found some vibrant and very fresh Brussels sprouts the other day. Since they are one of Mr. SGCC's favorite vegetables, I decided to pick some up and see what I could create with them. I came up with this dish, which is a variation on one that I usually make for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of cooking the sprouts whole, I sliced them very thinly and sauteed them with chopped pecans, champagne grapes and.....bacon.

Let me tell you, they were outstanding! Slicing the Brussels sprouts enabled the other flavors in the dish to really permeate them. Each bite had the perfect balance of smoky bacon, crunchy pecans and sweet baby grapes that just popped in our mouths. If you can't find champagne grapes, you could also use seedless red grapes in this dish. I really urge you to try this one, even if you don't love Brussels sprouts. I swear, you'll never look at them the same way again!

baconbrusselssprouts2

Bacon-Pecan Brussels Sprouts Saute with Champagne Grapes (Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 slices bacon

1 large or 2 small shallots, diced

1/2-1 cup pecan pieces, depending upon how much you like pecans

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, sliced very thinly and rinsed

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup champagne grapes, rinsed

Steps
...
Preheat large sauté pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Add olive oil.

Cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and add to pan. Cook 4–5 minutes until bacon just begins to crisp.

Stir in shallot and pecans. Cook 3–4 minutes, stirring often until bacon is fully crisped.

Stir in sugar and vinegar. Add Brussels sprouts and salt. Cook, stirring often, until vinegar is reduced and sprouts are done to desired tenderness.

Add grapes and saute for just another minute or two more.

Enjoy!

Here are some other great ways to use Brussels sprouts:

Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts from 101 Cookbooks

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts from Kalyn's Kitchen

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon from Simply Recipes

Curried Brussels Sprouts from White on Rice Couple

Cream Braised Brussels Sprouts from Orangette

29 comments:

Patsyk said...

What a wonderful post! It is funny how the change of seasons is so different in different areas of the U.S. We are experiencing rather cool nights, but the days can run anywhere from 70's to upper 80's... makes getting dressed a bit tricky in the mornings!

That recipe for brussels sprouts sounds wonderful. Wonder if I could get my boys to eat them if I made this....

Deborah said...

Oooh, Brussels sprouts and bacon!! We actually grew Brussels sprouts in the garden this year, and this sounds like a great recipe for when we harvest them!

the italian dish said...

This look so good! What a different way to make brussels sprouts - I'm definitely trying this.

Manggy said...

It's 1:30AM and I haven't eaten since 6:30PM. It's not that there's no food; it's just that I'm trying to be good (I maxed out on my weight, again!). That pic of the grapes, brussels sprouts, and BACON (!!!) is just torturing me now! Arrrh! At least now I know what's best with the sprouts when I see them again :)

Ah, I see why we never pay attention to the equinox-- day and night are roughly always the same length here, with minor differences :)

kellypea said...

Mmmm...Brussels sprouts! There are so many great recipes out there for them now, it really makes it fun to cook them. This recipe sounds delicious! As far as the harvest moon goes -- wow. Haven't seen anything like that here. Gorgeous.

Sean said...

I'm a relatively recent convert to Brussels sprouts, so am always looking for new ways to work with them. This sounds like an amazing and unusual dish. I'll try it!

Maria said...

I enjoy brussel sprouts. This dish looks amazing! Fall has some great foods. I am getting excited!

Carly said...

We love Brussel Sprouts, and it's always nice to find some new ideas and change it up - thanks!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Although I enjoy this time of year for the colors and the fruits, I hate the shorter days and the lack of warmth. I always stay in denial of the coming fall until the equinox hits, and then I'm forced to give in to it. At least I have a lot to look forward to this fall

You almost make me wish I liked brussels sprouts. I've tried. I've made them a few different way, but I can't get into them. Still, I really like your methods.

noble pig said...

Another use for champagne grapes! I'm so excited, thank you for this! Happy Fall to you, but why does it have to be 90 degrees here today, I'm so sick of my summer wardrobe!

Lisa said...

Oh man that looks so good!! This is a must try for me! I adore brussel sprouts so I know I'm going to love it! Thanks for this one!

Jenny said...

Oh, what gorgeous pictures! I am dying to make this dish. I'll be back soon to visit. Yum!

RecipeGirl said...

ooooh, I love, Love, LOVE brussel sprouts. I know that's rare, but I really do. This looks wonderful! I'd eat it all up!

Sylvia said...

What a beautiful red moon !! I love Brussels sprouts, but I had only a few and poor recipes. I certainly love this dish. Thanks for share

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Oh Susan, this recipe looks so good! I can't wait to try it.

The air is different isn't it? Only someone who has lived here for a long time can even see it. We do have seasons and fall is here. I have a shadow in my pool that is never there in the summer but is always there in the fall! I went outstide the other morning and even though it was 74 it was still a cooler 74. Almost a slight crispness in the air!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Ooohhh, yum! Wish I had seen this just before I went to the store!!

Astra Libris said...

OH, yum!! Such a beautiful way of preparing brussel sprouts! I love the addition of the grapes!

joanne at frutto della passione said...

I so something similar but I've never sliced the sprouts before, thanks for the idea!

Grace said...

at first glance, this seems like a random combination of ingredients, but when i think about it, i'll bet they all work together beautifully! :)

kittie said...

Lovely post - what a stunning moon...

Brussel sprouts are my favourite veg! Last year I had them with chestnuts and bacon - I'm very interested to try the grape addition too!

We Are Never Full said...

You know what? I barely remembered that fall was yesterday! i'm kind of sad to let go of the summer. BUT this dish will help that. we love making brussel sprouts. we often cook them just like this but with apples (and bacon) and a bit of reisling to finish it off. We often keep the sprouts whole too. YUM!!! This would make a great t-giving side dish.

CECIL said...

You got me at 'bacon'!! Haha..but pairing with brussel sprouts...mmmh!! I loveee brussel sprouts!

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a great way of making these!
I love the slicing of them! I once saw Lydia peel each leaf off on one of her shows. this seems faster.
This has autumm written all over this!!

Cakelaw said...

I have never seen anything like that harvest Moon - it even looks like a Halloween pumpkin! What a great way to serve brussels sprouts - surely even the most conscientous objector would have to try it when mixed with those plump juicy grapes and cripsy bacon.

Brilynn said...

That moon is amazing!

And I've converted a few people to brussels sprouts by frying them up like that. I like mine with a maple vinaigrette!

Bellini Valli said...

I have seen other recipes where they chop up the brussel sprouts. I'm quite sure I would prefer them that way to my moms method:D I'll give it a try!!

Mochachocolata Rita said...

bacon bacon oh bacon...:)

i just did one with corn + zucchini...i loveeeeeee bacon!

the grapes = brilliant idea!

Maggie said...

Delicious looking dish! The grapes in this remind me of the apples in braised red cabbage, a touch of sweet and sour.

ejm said...

I was converted to liking brussels sprouts when bacon was added too. But I've never seen them sliced this way. We have sauteed the leaves with bacon and garlic (saw this method on Laura Calder's TV cooking show). But we usually parboil our sprouts, then cut them in half and saute them with caramelized garlic and bread crumbs.

Aren't you brilliant to put grapes into your brussels sprouts! We must try this!

-Elizabeth

brussels sprouts