Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brussels Sprouts w/Walnuts and Bacon: 3 Ingredient Recipe #10

3 Ingredient recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Bacon

I've read that a lot of the elaborate sauces invented by the French, and Roman sauces like garum , were concocted to mask the flavor of spoiled meats.  I thought about this as I worked thru the 10 days of this challenge.  Normally happy to be cooking with a spectrum of spices, I was now forced to focus on the details of my paltry ingredient lists... and while it's not like they were rotten or anything to begin with, they did have to be even better quality than the usual "it's gonna go so let's make stir fry out of it".

I'll admit this was intensely frustrating at first.  I found it amusing when friends would suggest dishes and it would be a conversation much like the process I'd go thru in my own head while putting these together: "Well you could just make a salsa and, wait, no that has 4 ingredients already... well I had this pesto cream with chicken and CRAP that's not going to work..."  You don't realized just how long the ingredient lists run in most recipes until you do something like this.

There are great things about it, though, obviously.  It's easy to go shopping for a recipe.  It has tendency to be less expensive.  It forces you to really think about each ingredient you choose.  

I think maybe my palate had been too spoiled before this.  We have so much flavor thrown at us in our food that  it can be easy to forget what the chicken tastes like outside the Kiev or the peppers before they've been stuffed.  This experiment, for me, has been like putting my taste buds on "time out" to think about just how much privilege they've had in their short lives, what with all the tandoories and tagines and tazikis available to them.  Except it turned out to be anything but a punishment.  The dishes were surprising flavorful and rich, much of that owing to the fact there was a sincere concentration, both in the cooking and in the dining process.

I really think I'll do this again sometime, and I hope you'll join me and at least watch the fun...

I thought I end this challenge with the recipe that put the idea in my head in first place: an impromptu side dish that turned into a meal.  All because Jason bought me these...

For a refresher on the rules of my 10 day, 3 ingredient challenge, check out the first post.

3 Ingredients...

  1. 1 pound of Brussels sprouts, quartered (or 1/2 the sprouts of one large stalk)
  2. 2 strips of bacon (diced)
  3. 2/3 cup walnuts (chopped and toasted in dry pan)

What to do with it...

  • Heat a large saute pan on medium heat and add your bacon, sautéing for 3 mins or until you have a some grease to cook your sprouts in
  • Add sprouts and cook for 15 mins, stirring occasionally - you want some of the sprouts to get a nice golden color and the bacon to cook (it won't get crunchy, though)
  • Add walnuts and salt and pepper

So easy, and so good!  Thanks so much to everyone who read along or contributed comments on this challenge, it's made all the difference!


  1. This is incredible..and so was your last dish. The desert. I agree. Unless you sit never realize how many ingredients goes into things. In fact as I write recipes...the ingredients make my head spin. And I thought I used less stuff!

    I am not a meat eater at all. Just chicken and turkey and fish. But even then I can appreciate a great dish when I see one :)

    you totally rock. And that is the best part of not wantin to grow up!

  2. You did it! Congreatulations! *throws roses* I really admire that you did this and showed us all that it IS possible to cook lovely little lunches, dinners AND desserts with just three ingredients! I'm still skeptical on whether I believe I could do it- I'm so weak! Lol, I'd probably give in to random extras just begging to be used. You just proved that with a little imagination and creativity you can make dishes to inspire people (esp those on a budget- me!) Now I know it IS possible... and perhaps it will be possible for me one day! :D Great stuff!!!

  3. Wow, your pictures are always so great! Nice work with this challenge! Very impressive - everything has looked amazing!

  4. it's amazing to cook with 3 ingredients....looks delicious. Well done.

  5. Yay!! You crossed the finish line! I've had such a fun time reading about all these challenges - now go treat your tastebuds to a 1000000 ingredient dish!

  6. You guys are the absolute best! Thanks so much for following along with me thru the challenge!

    @Jhonny- I used to be a vegetarian/pescatarian and I know what you mean! And yes, isn't it weird as you actually write down recipes how you realize how many more ingredients you used than you thought?

    @Sanjana- Woohoo, roses!!! *beams* Yes, being very budget-conscious myself, it was pretty obvious if I was going to do a challenge, it would have to be with very few ingredients! :)

    @experimentalculinarypursuits- I made bao last night (for the first time) with a whopping THIRTEEN ingredients! Heaven! :D

  7. The end!

    Well done. For me, it wouldn't be the cooking that would finish me off, but the posting.


  8. my forst visit to this wonderful blog and i am amazed to see the fun cooking and writing....i foolowed your award badge from Sanjana's
    blog which i discovered right now it's like 2 great discoveries in a day...will be back frequently..

  9. bravo! i love your challenge! so many cooking techniques were used, and i loved how all the recipes demonstrated the lively flavor of each ingredient. a very well rounded showcase of your talents.


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