Monday, January 12, 2009

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms with Hot Bacon Dressing

Yesterday, two friends and I discussed when we would go out to lunch again. We went out just before Christmas and had a great time. It was time to meet up again. I volunteered the Bristow Bistro as the meeting place. They kindly accepted and I began a frantic quest to come up with brunch-able food. Since I don't shop on Sundays, it limited what I could do (unless, of course, I made an early run to the grocery store on Monday, which is what I ended up doing). So, here's what was on this morning's menu: Roasted brussels sprouts and mushrooms with hot bacon dressing, garlic-parmesan chicken patties with creamy tomato sauce, corn and sun-dried tomato creme brulee, and fresh cinnamon bread.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms
1 bag frozen brussell sprouts
4 oz. fresh mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt, divided
Hot bacon dressing (below)

1. Slice brussels spouts in half along the length of each vegetable. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt.
2. In separate bowl, quarter mushrooms and toss with remaining olive oil and salt.
3. Roast brussels sprouts on large sheet at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, gently stirring midway through. Add mushrooms to the sheet and continue roasting for another 10 minutes or until brussell sprouts and mushrooms develop healthy brown color.
4. Just before serving, crumble bacon from dressing recipe into brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Stir. Spoon 1/4 cup of dressing over mixture and gently stir until until fully incorporated. Serve hot.

Hot Bacon Dressing

4 strips bacon
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
Dash pepper
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water

1. Cook bacon until crisp. Set aside and drain.
2. Using 1 to 2 tbsp of bacon fat, saute diced onion over medium heat until tender.
3. Meanwhile, combine flour, sugar, celery seed, salt and pepper. Stir, then add to onion mixture. Stir until liquid is incorporated. Add cider vinegar and continue stirring.
4. Gradually add water, several tablespoons at a time until the dressing thickens and bubbles. Continue to add water until you reach your desired consistency. Correct seasonings if necessary.

Lessons learned: The dressing recipe will make more than you need for one bag of frozen brussels sprouts. I don't think it'll keep well, though, so just get rid of what you don't use. The bacon really does need to go in just before serving ... unless you like soggy bacon, which I do not. There's no reason why this recipe could not also work with broccoli, cauliflower or atop a spinach or potato salad. I like the extra hint of flavor that comes from using cider vinegar, but if you don't have any, regular white vinegar will work just as well. I suppose you could use oil instead of bacon renderings and just add bacon bits instead of freshly cooked bacon, but I really like the smokiness and love that come from the real thing.

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