Friday, June 21, 2013

Garlic Bacon Brussel Sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables.  Brassicaceae family.  Sounds like some poorly made Sci-fi movie.  Fitting perhaps, because the vegetables that belong to this elite group have unique phytochemicals that offer superhuman benefits. Not to mention they are delicious.  In fact, cruciferous veggies are my all time favorite and make their way to our plates almost everyday. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, bok choy, I love them all.  Plus cruciferous is just plain cool to say.  

By now, we are all aware that plants contain powerful antioxidants, and these antioxidants provide numerous benefits to our bodies.  Cruciferous vegetables however, are overachievers. They possess the unique ability to modify human hormones, detoxify the body, and prevent toxic compounds from binding to human DNA, thus preventing toxins from causing cellular damage that could lead to cancer. Studies have even shown that cruciferous veggies are able to suppress the genetic defects that may lead to cancer!  Even though a healthy diet comprised of whole, unprocessed foods is a valuable tool in the fight against cancer, cruciferous vegetables in particular have been shown to be twice as effective as other fruits and veggies in preventing it. As cruciferous vegetable intake goes up twenty percent in a population, cancer rates drop a staggering forty percent!

If all these facts aren't enough to make you want to increase your consumption of these super veggies, then adding two of the world's most delectable foods to one of these veggies should.  C'mon, bacon and garlic??  Does it get any more delicious than that?  Not for me.  It is a well known fact that smoked swine makes everything better.  And as for garlic, well the more the merrier, I say.  Usually I roast my brussel sprouts, enjoying the flavor that develops in the oven as well as the crunchy little leaves that get left behind.  But, I told you we eat a lot of cruciferous veggies, and so I need to find new ways to cook them.  Simmering slowly in nutrient dense bone broth and the addition of bacon and garlic makes this dish shine, both in flavor profile and nutrient content.  Bone broth carries with it it's own super powers, namely gelatin and a bevvy of amino acids, but we'll save that info for another post:)

These sprouts make a perfect side dish, whether it's for a family meal, or you are entertaining guests, this one is a definite crowd pleaser.

Garlic-Bacon Brussel Sprouts

2 lbs brussel sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half, small sprouts left whole
5 pieces bacon, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 c bone broth
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp tallow, ghee, or more bacon grease

Brown bacon in a cast iron pan over medium high heat.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and keep the grease in the pan.

Add 1 Tbsp fat of your choice, turn down heat to medium and add garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic!  Add brussel sprouts and turn in pan to coat with oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cook brussel sprouts 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften, then add broth.  Bring broth to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 10 minutes, until tender.  Remove sprouts with a slotted spoon, you will be leaving some broth in the pan.  Top with bacon and eat!!

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