People who claim to not like brussels sprouts must be traumatized from childhood memories of grandma’s boiled greens turned mush, but if given the chance, brussels sprouts would finally have the chance to prove themselves as one of the world’s most versatile culinary vessels.
Turning brussels into fine cuisine starts with cooking them via a dry heating method as opposed to a wet one. Roasting brussels in a flaming hot oven with a touch of oil crisps up the edges, lightly blackens the outer skin, and lends them a bite while remaining tender. Depending on the application, you can season them as simply as salt & oil, or you can be a little more extravagant like we did here; a touch of cinnamon compliments the deepness of the mushroom bacon & balsamic reduction.
Speaking of balsamic reduction, let’s talk about that real fast. As you know, balsamic vinegar is one of the world’s most antioxidant-rich foods, as it’s made from fermented red grapes – skin, seeds, & flesh – just like red wine. The only difference is you don’t have to drink a whole glass of this stuff to get the benefits, as you would with red wine (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Balsamic also happens to have relatively high sugar levels, which makes it ideal for creating a reduction out of. See, a reduction is made by evaporating the water portion of a sweet liquid, thereby intensifying the concentration of sugars. Because of high heat, sugars are simultaneously being chemically broken down in a process we cooks know as caramelization. Through intense heat, sweetness depends and becomes more complex. Fascinating stuff.
To add further depth, we add Kim & I’s favorite form of mushrooms: mushroom bacon. Sound difficult to make? Nah. In fact, it’s as easy as baking mushrooms with a touch of olive oil, sea salt, and liquid smoke at three hundred and fifty degrees until the mushrooms are shriveled up and dark in color. After cooling for a few minutes, they become crisp like well-done cooked thin bacon – hence the name.
Do they actually taste like bacon? Of course not! They’re mushrooms. They taste better than bacon.
All in all, these Brussels Sprouts are:
- Easy to make
- Great as a side or snack
- Well balanced in flavor
- Deep, bold, & complex
- Tender, crispy, and pleasantly burnt
If you like what your taste buds are tellin’ ya, leave behind a nice rating, share your thoughts with us in the comments, or show us your creations by tagging @noeggsorham on Instagram.
Go Forth & Devour,
Cinnamon Roasted Brussesls Sprouts w/ Sweet Balsamic Reduction & Smoky Mushroom Bacon
Bold, deep, & complex flavors make this a snack worth showing off.
- 1/2 lb brussels sprouts, cut in half, rough leaves removed, & bottoms trimmed
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- large pinch of salt
- dash of cinnamon
- 3 oz (about 5) crimini or shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & thinly sliced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- large pinch of salt
- 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp erythritol
- small pinch of salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350° F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toss all of the “Mushroom Bacon” ingredients together in medium bowl and spread out on prepped cookie sheet.
- Bake for 40 minutes, remove, and allow to cool. Boost oven temperature to 450° F and line another cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, toss together all of the ingredients under “Brussels” and spread them out on a cookie sheet.
- Roast at 450° F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly blackened. Remove.
- While brussels roast, combine all of the “Balsamic Reduction” ingredients together in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to cook until only 2 tablespoons of liquid remain.
- The only way to be certain about what stage your reduction is in is to measure the amount of liquid left. Albeit it should take around 5 minutes.
- Assemble by plating a spread of reduction, brussels atop that, sprinkle of mushroom bacon, and another drizzle of balsamic reduction. Enjoy while fresh.