Most of my cooking is the sort where I throw together stuff that has to be used up, trying to keep healthy, palatable and fast. Sometimes it works! Tonight’s dinner did, and since it’s seasonable I thought I’d share. The recipe (which shows its improvisatory quality; forgive the vagueness) balances sweet, bitter and savory – maybe heavy on the sweet, but that’s where my taste buds go in the fall. Vary to your own taste; add or subtract ingredients. Bad blogger: no pictures.
Serves 4-5; about 40 minutes.
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion
1 medium (or 2 very small) sweet potato
1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts
about 1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 slices bacon
1 large peach
handful of pecans
Slice the onion and saute in olive oil, medium heat. Stir occasionally while peeling and thinly slicing the sweet potato and carrots. Add these to the pan and keep stirring occasionally (you want them to caramelize but not burn). Cut the bottoms off the brussels sprouts, remove any outside leaves you don’t like the look of, and slice thinly. Add to the pan and stir for a bit. Put in broth, cover pan, turn down heat to low.
Fry bacon in a separate pan. While bacon is cooking, add to vegetable mixture a nice drizzle of honey (I used buckwheat honey, dark and strong), a dash or two of maple syrup, and a bit of soy sauce, plus a few grinds of black pepper and a dash or three of cinnamon and coriander. Peel and pit the peach; cut into chunks and add to the veggies.
When bacon is done, take out of pan and chop into small pieces. Add a drizzle of honey to the pan of bacon drippings, and toss in the pecans. Stir pecans until well coated, and continue to stir until toasted. Don’t let them burn; turn off the heat if necessary. Add pecans and bacon to vegetables. Serve over brown rice, roasted potatoes, or Jerusalem artichokes roasted or steamed (which is totally what I should have done considering I still have lots left, but I used rice).
The peach is optional (I had one going bad) but a nice addition. Try an apple instead (cook it longer). For vegetarian recipe, use fake bacon or omit it altogether, with a little butter or oil for the pecans. Just about everything is optional, in fact: try different combinations of sweet and bitter vegetables, and sweet/spicy seasonings you prefer. Improvisation can be fun, and before you know it, it’s time for dinner.