Brussels Sprouts with Oranges and Bacon

Vegetable Side Dish Blog #3—
A final wrap-up to veggie side dishes for a spell…

Wondering what veggie dish to accompany our leg of lamb dinner, I recalled a Brussels sprouts side dish that Russ made years ago with orange juice and shallots. In his search to find that recipe, he came across this intriguing version from Martha Stewart. And the beauty of it was we had some blood oranges on hand, and you know how I adore blood oranges!

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When we buy brussels sprouts, we tend to get them still on the stalk if possible. This way we can cut off what we want, and the remaining sprouts stay fresher until we need more. Our latest stalk carried ginormous, almost baseball-size sprouts on the lower end!

sprouts-on-stalk
This stalk had nearly baseball size sprouts at one end!

However, there’s a BIG BUT here. A quick glance at the directions and one could see that roasting 1/2 inch pieces of bacon in a 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes, and thin slices of orange for over an hour—would result in a charred black mess! C’mon Martha, you can do better than that.

Actually, it was probably the editor’s who mistakenly left out the fact that you have to REMOVE the oranges and the bacon after so many minutes and then return them to the pan near the end. Our directions will reflect this.

I must admit, the combination of sweet orange, lightly smoky bacon, and caramelized brussels sprouts is absolutely addictive, if they’re cooked properly. So follow our updated instructions. Note, you can eat the orange rinds, which have a bit of a bitter taste. I personally like them, but you may not, so just cut the flesh away from the rind. Make sure to start with thin-skinned oranges.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 small, thin-skinned oranges (blood oranges if you can get them), cut in half, then into 1⁄2-inch slices
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

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Add oranges, in a single layer, on an oil rubbed rimed baking sheet, turning the slices to coat. Season with salt and drizzle with more oil.

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After 15 minutes or so when the slices start to char, transfer the oranges from the oven to a plate or bowl.

img_0032Next, roast the bacon on the same baking sheet for about 12 minutes then transfer to the plate with oranges.

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Toss Brussels sprout halves with the remaining oil, and season with salt.

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All of the ingredients are roasted together for a final 5 minutes.

Directions (see our comments above)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a rimmed baking sheet generously with oil. Add oranges, in a single layer, turning to coat. Season with salt and drizzle with one tablespoon oil; roast 15-18 minutes. Remove the slices to a plate.

  2. Add bacon and roast until crisp, about 12 minutes. Remove the bacon to the plate with the oranges.

  3. Toss brussels sprouts with remaining 4 tablespoons oil; season with salt. Add to baking sheet; toss to combine. Roast, tossing once, until sprouts are tender and browning at edges.

  4. Add back the oranges and bacon with the sprouts and roast another 5 minutes.

According to Martha, if you take the time to separate a few of the sprouts into leaves, you will be rewarded with crunchy, almost burnt bits along with the softer caramelized sprouts. You may find you want to make a whole tray of them.

img_0040The colors alone make you eat with your eyes.

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