It’s MAPLE SYRUP season, and that makes me proud to live in Canada! I’m not one for sweets, but maple syrup has this amazing complex flavour profile, and it’s a great addition to many savoury dishes.
COOKING IS MY SECOND LOVE
Okay, I don’t mean that photography is my first and my family doesn’t enter the picture 😉 but what I mean with this, is that after I fell in love with my husband, and we got married, I had to start learning how to cook. And I fell in love a second time. I can’t say that the recipes turned out great every time, with trial comes error, but I think I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge about good food!
HOW MAPLE SYRUP WAS DISCOVERED
Legend has it that the first maple syrup maker was an Iroquois woman, the wife of a Chief. One late-winter morning, the chief left on one of his hunts, but not before yanking his tomahawk (a sort of ax) from the tree where he’d thrown it the night before (men, am I right?).
On this particular day the weather turned quite warm, causing the tree’s sap to run and fill a container standing near the trunk. The chief’s wife spied the vessel and, thinking it was plain water, cooked their evening meal in it. The boiling, of course, turned the sap to syrup, and the chief’s meal had never tasted quite that good!
SOME OF THE GREATEST THINGS ABOUT MAPLE SYRUP
First, it’s organic! Well as much as is possible in today’s world anyway. As maple trees grow in the wild, and it’s not common to fertilize one-hundred-year-old trees, you’re likely looking at an organic product as long as it’s the real thing. Even if it doesn’t have certification.
Secondly, you only need about 3/4 of a measurement of maple syrup if you’re substituting it for sugar, which means you end up with less calories! Pure maple syrup also contains calcium, potassium, and magnesium, among others! Much better for you than refined sugar.
Also, it will keep at least a year, if kept chilled, usually even longer! The sugar content really helps keep it from going bad.
Lastly, there’s no cholesterol! (But then again, there might be in the oil depending on what you’re using to cook the recipe below.)
LET’S GET COOKING!
I was not raised with Brussels sprouts, my dad had bad memories of them, so he said he’d never eat it. My mom’s not a very adventurous cook, so she took his word for it, and it never appeared on the table. A few years into our marriage, I found a similar recipe online, and I was going through a phase where I wanted to try one completely different dish once a week, so I went to the grocery store. My husband was not thrilled when he came home and found me cooking Brussels sprouts. Our kids loved the dish, however, and he didn’t end up complaining either, because “maple syrup and bacon will make anything taste good!” (his words, not mine!)
I also usually only cook a recipe according to the actual recipe once, and then I re-invent it my way, which usually means I take a few shortcuts along the way. One shortcut is this amazing organic Roasted Chicken Bouillon Base (I buy mine at Costco), it might need a pinch of salt, but has this amazing caramelized taste that is like no other bouillon base I’ve ever had. But you can of course use any chicken broth that you prefer!
On a side note, do you have any ideas for getting my natural gas stove to look clean again? I really don’t like using chemicals, but I’m about to throw caution to the wind and really do what needs to get done to get it looking as good as new again. Or is it just too late, and should I learn to live with it?
You’re going to want to use butter and oil, I actually find this combination works well for most meats and vegetables that you want to have a nice caramelization. I used 2 tbsp of each, but feel free to use more or less to your preference!
You’re going to want to stir-fry them for 5 to 8 minutes, over a fairly high flame. You’ll really want to get some nice colour on them; according to Gordon Ramsey; “No colour, no flavour!”
Be careful when you add the chicken broth, it’s going to sizzle and steam, you’ll want to keep your hands back as much as you can or wear oven mitts. Cover quickly, and let this simmer for 5 minutes over low heat.
Feel free to have a quick peek, but make sure not to let too much steam escape or you’ll hinder the cooking process!
After 5 minutes, you’re going to take off the lid, and let this simmer until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Because we received this container of PC Maple Syrup for Christmas, I used that this time. Any other time I prefer using local over chain-store brands. It’s always better to support local, even if it costs a little more!
If you’re really dedicated (which I can be, but wasn’t this time), you could fry a few bacon strips at the very beginning of this recipe instead. Put them aside; then use the bacon grease along with the butter and oil to add more of a smoky flavour. You would chop that bacon up now, and add it to the pan. But I just have a very convenient bag of Costco’s hormone free bacon bits in my freezer, and I used that.
Serving up this dish is always a joy; I love the contrast and the super amazing bright colours! If you’ve never had Brussels sprouts before, I’d really recommend you give this recipe a try! Like my hubby said, “maple syrup and bacon will make anything taste good!” It’s just awesome that it makes these little cabbages taste even better.
Tell me that doesn’t look absolutely amazing!!! (And I’d have to tell you that you’d be lying!)
Click HERE for the printable recipe.