Everything’s better with bacon, right? Well, most vegetarians may disagree, but to me it’s completely understandable why this stuff is called The Gateway Meat. I actually personally know some folks who proclaim they “don’t really eat meat, except the occasional fish…oh, and bacon.” I’m of the impression that if it’s not made better with bacon, I will often cook the bacon anyway, eat it first, and then eat whatever the dish is that I’ve decided doesn’t really need bacon in it after all.
One surefire way to get your picky kiddos and significant others to eat their vegetables is to add just enough Gateway Meat that they forget they’re eating something good for them. The smoky, salty fat from a small amount of rendered bacon adds just enough flavor to entice persnickety diners, and is a perfect medium for achieving a really nice caramelized crust without smoking or oxidizing like most vegetable-based oils.
I’ve sung praises for Brussels sprouts in the past, and for good reason. They’re another one of our beloved cruciferous vegetables, high in fiber and vitamins, especially vitamin C and vitamin K. Size doesn’t seem too matter terribly much, but be sure to choose sprouts with leaves that are tightly packed and firm, as opposed to sprouts with loose or wilting leaves, which suggest that the sprouts are overly mature or have been sitting on the shelf too long. When preparing for cooking, I like to cut each sprout in half or in slices so that the flavors that I add to them nestle between the leaves and permeate the flavor of the entire dish, rather than just sit on the outside of the sprout.
4 strips thick-cut, meaty, nitrate-free bacon (plus extra, for snacking on!)
1 small red onion, diced
24 ounces fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed of outer leaves and cut in half or in slices through the core (the intact core will hold the leaves together)
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup water or broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Dice bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp. Spoon bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from pan. Add diced onion and cook until beginning to caramelize, about 3–4 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, undisturbed, for a few minutes, until they begin to brown. Stir in dill, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another minute or two.
3. Add water to pan and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in the pan with a wooden spoon. Cover with a lid and steam until sprouts are bright green and just tender. This will take anywhere from 2–5 minutes or so, depending on the size of your sprouts and how you cut them. The best way to test their doneness is to taste them!
4. Remove lid, taste, and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with bacon.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream products