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A marriage of two of our favorite fall vegetables with added bacon: What could be better? This side dish can take a place on your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner tables, or be served as part of a weekday dinner.
The recipe is from the new Paleo Takes 5—Or Fewer cookbook, which focuses on recipes with five or fewer ingredients.
Slow roasting the vegetables caramelizes them, to create extra sweetness along with a savory crunch. There’s more about the process of caramelizing below.
If you’re not a fan of Brussels sprouts, here’s an alternative recipe: beets and carrots.
RECIPE: BEETS & BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1 pound (454 g) bacon
6 beets, cubed into small pieces
24 Brussels sprouts, cleaned thoroughly
4 cloves fresh garlic, quartered
1 tablespoons (4 g) dried thyme or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme*
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup (62 g) pistachios, once cooked, and toasted
Optional garnish: fresh goat cheese, crumbled
A luscious marriage of fall vegetables from the new Paleo Takes 5—or Fewer cookbook.
*The typical ratio to substitute dried herbs for fresh, or vice versa: 1/3 part dried herbs equals 1 part fresh herbs.
This book has healthy Paleo Diet dishes that use far fewer ingredients than many Paleo recipes. Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.
1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (176°C).
2. ARRANGE the slices of bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven until crispy. Remove with tongs and set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve the bacon fat for cooking the vegetables.
3. ADD the beets, Brussels sprouts and garlic to a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the reserved bacon fat. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly using the tongs. Roast in the oven on the middle rack for about 45 minutes until everything has caramelized slightly. In the meantime…
4. TOAST the pistachios on the stovetop in a small pan over medium heat. Transfer the contents of the roasting pan to a large bowl and top with pistachios. Use tongs to toss all ingredients together.
5. ADD crumbled goat cheese and serve.
WHAT IS CARAMELIZING?
At its most basic level, caramelizing is chemistry. At 338°F, sugar begins to break down at a molecular level and form new compounds. To our eyes and understanding, this means it turns brown and becomes caramel—a broad term that extends to more than just candy and sauce.
Let’s use onions as our example. Not only do they have a very high natural sugar content—which is helpful when caramelizing—but they are also the most typical item one caramelizes.
Every time you caramelize an onion, you’re heating its molecules to 338°F, causing the water to evaporate and the sugars to change. It’s as simple as that.
The process of caramelizing—the caramelization of the sugar inside the onion or other food—is a type of non-enzymatic browning, not involving amino acids, that is different from a Maillard reaction.† Instead, the sugar is oxidized.
†The brown caramel color in certain foods comes from a reaction between the sugar and an amino acid in food. Called the Maillard (my-YARD) reaction after the French physician and chemist Louis Camille Maillard, it’s a form of non-enzymatic browning that usually requires heat. Each type of food has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction. The color and flavor of toasted bread and nuts; barbecued, roasted and seared meats; and roasted coffee (and many other flavors) are the result of Maillard reactions. And of course, caramel candy is the result of a Maillard reaction.
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