For the first round-up of Tyler Florence Fridays, I decided to do something easy since I'd only heard about the event the day before. I looked through some of his recipes at Food Network and chose Bacon-Braised Brussels Sprouts because I really love Brussels sprouts. Since I usually boil these babies with some Cheddarwurst sausage, the idea of braising them with bacon appealed to me. Thinking about what to serve with them, I decided to make oven-roasted potatoes and, lo and behold, Tyler has a recipe for them: Crunchy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. To make the meal complete, I decided to make a chopped beefsteak--a fancy term for a hamburger. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I love hamburgers and I make the best beefsteak for miles around.
Not being one to follow a recipe to the letter, of course I had to make changes. I can never resist playing with a recipe to suit my tastes. I only made a few changes to the Brussels sprouts recipe, but I did a complete overhaul on the oven-roasted potatoes. I've marked my changes in blue.
Bacon-Braised Brussels Sprouts
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, washed and cut in half (I'm assuming he means fresh; I used frozen and thawed them before cooking.)
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) bacon, cut into small squares. (I used turkey bacon.)
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed, plus 2 cloves, roughly chopped
4 sprigs thyme, plus 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only, chopped (I used dried thyme.)
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt (I used regular table salt.)
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup panko bread crumbs (I used Italian-seasoned bread crumbs; I had some leftover from the Baked Chicken Parmesan I made earlier in the week.)
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only, chopped (I used dried rosemary.)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take a large pan and set over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until fat renders 2 to 3 minutes. Add the smashed garlic clove, thyme sprigs and Brussels sprouts and cook gently until slightly caramelized. Add stock and reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and a little pepper, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes until tender. Remove lid and add a splash of vinegar and reduce until syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.
After Brussels sprouts are done cooking, put them in oven safe dish. In sheet tray and toss bread crumbs with rosemary, thyme leaves and chopped garlic, then drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture and Parmigiano over Brussels sprouts and bake in a hot oven until golden and crispy.
Okay, did the way the recipe was written (I copied it word-for-word) make sense to you? Not to me. Tyler can really cook but whoever wrote this recipe is in serious need of grammatical and recipe-writing help. For example, in the first paragraph, you're supposed to 'take a large pan and set over medium-high heat.' What size is a large pan?
I have a turkey roaster which is a large pan. Should I use that? I have
a large Dutch oven. Should I use that? I have a large skillet. Should
I use that? By now I'm getting aggravated reading the recipe and cooking is supposed to be something I enjoy, something that relaxes me. I read through the ingredients again that are going to go into this 'large pan' and decide to use my deep, 12-inch chef's saute pan. Why couldn't the recipe-writer say this in the first place? And wouldn't it be better to heat the pan rather than set it over the heat? Grrr!
Oh, and another thing: The recipe lists Brussels sprouts as the first ingredient, but the first ingredient used in the directions is bacon. This is just wrong. The ingredient list should be written in the order that the ingredients are used in the recipe. There's another error in the way the ingredients are listed: The bread crumbs are used before the Parmigiano-Reggiano, but they're not listed that way. Thyme is used twice in this recipe but only shown once--without the word 'divided.' So just reading the recipe, you'd throw in the thyme along with the smashed garlic to the bacon along with the Brussels sprouts. Then you get to the end of the recipe and discover you're supposed to put some thyme in along with the rosemary.
In the second paragraph, you're supposed to put the Brussels sprouts in an oven safe dish, which by the way is supposed to be hyphenated, like this: oven-safe. And what size oven-safe dish are you supposed to use? I chose my 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish. Then 'in sheet tray and toss' ... would read much better as: In a sheet tray, toss the bread crumbs ... Sorry to be critical, but poorly-written recipes are
a HUGE pet peeve of mine. And how many of us have sheet trays? I used a 9-inch pie pan to toss my crumbs. When I read a recipe, I'd like the directions to be clear and make sense. I don't like to have to read through the directions several times because they're confusing. Now, on to the potatoes.
Crunchy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
3 large Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean, cut in 1/2 (I used russets.)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary (I used dried rosemary.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (I used regular table salt.)
Sprinkle or two of dried minced garlic (I added this because I love garlic and thought this would complement the garlic in the Brussels sprouts.)
1/2 onion, finely chopped (I added this because I thought onions would add a nice flavor.)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the potatoes and put on a baking sheet. Roughly tear the rosemary and scatter it over the potatoes; season them with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss the potatoes well to mix all the flavors and put them in the oven. Remove them after 30 minutes and toss them again. Continue to roast them until they are browned and cooked through. Serve immediately.
I have to gripe about the way the potato recipe was written: In the ingredient list, you're supposed to cut the potatoes in half. Do you
cut them lengthwise or sideways? Then in the directions, you're told
to slice the potatoes you've already cut in half. The prep for the potatoes would make more sense if you were told in the ingredient list to slice the potatoes. And how thick or thin are you supposed to slice them? I quartered mine, then cut them into medium-size chunks.
Since the potatoes were going to take longer to cook, and at a higher temperature, I got them cooking before I began making the Brussels sprouts. I thought my timing would be nearly perfect on this but the potatoes didn't want to brown. It took an hour, not 30 minutes, like the recipe said, and they still didn't get nice and brown, even though I tossed them again, like the recipe said to do. The recipe also promised 'crunchy' which never happened.
The extra half hour they took turned out to be okay, only because I got distracted by my dog hassling the holy heck out of one of my cats and I had to create peace between them. Besides that, the Brussels sprouts were only supposed to simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, covered, but the broth wasn't reducing. So I uncovered the pan. By the time I was ready to put the Brussels sprouts in the oven, I shuffled the potatoes around and finished them in the reduced heat.
After I put the Brussels sprouts in the oven, I made my beefsteak, I mean my hamburger. I shaped an oblong patty (96% lean) and seared it on both sides in an 8-inch nonstick skillet which I preheated over high heat. I like a nice char on the outside, plus this leaves flavorful browning in the pan. After my burger was finished, I put about 1-1/2 tablespoons of water in the hot skillet to deglaze it and made a nice, rich, syrupy coating which I poured on my hamburger.
Dinner was... well, besides being kind of brown and unattractive, it was a total disaster. The only saving grace was my hamburger, which turned out beautifully. After the first bite of the Brussels sprouts and potatoes, I did something that I haven't done in 40 years of cooking. I threw the food away. It was really that awful.