In my last post I wrote about my ambivalence towards all things Fall. Sorry fall people, it's just not my thang. However, in my haste to get my Fall rant out, I forgot to mention the one aspect of Fall that I don't just tolerate, but actually celebrate--its food! The earthy produce, warming flavors, and rustic preparations of the Fall season bring me enough joy to keep a smile on my face until Winter--my culinary knights in shining armor.
In this recipe, roasted seasonal vegetables like acorn squash, turnips, carrots, and brussel sprouts are elevated by the flavors of apple, maple, sage, and smoky bacon. A final smattering of toasted pumpkin seeds adds some crunch to the soft veggies for a perfect balance of textures and flavors. Nothing could be more quintessentially Fall and I'm fine with it....Really I am... I'm good...It's Okay...
Apple Cider Glazed Fall Vegetables
Note: This recipe can be made vegan by omitting the bacon and simmering the remaining ingredients for the glaze in a small sauce pan until thickened. 3-5 minutes.
1 small acorn squash, unpeeled, halved, seeded & cut crosswise into 1-inch slices.
3 medium carrots, (the multi-color ones are particularly pretty) peeled and sliced on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
2 medium red onions, peeled & cut into 8 wedges/
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb. brussel sprouts (if you're not buying pre-bagged, which I suggest, try to choose small-medium sized ones.)
1/4 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2 teaspoons chopped sage
4 slices dry-rubbed maple bacon (I used Tender Belly)
1/2 cup all-natural apple cider
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced fine
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper .
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Arrange vegetables on a large baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While veggies cook, make the glaze.
In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard & minced garlic.
Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Coarsely chop & set aside. Drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving 1-2 tablespoons.
Add the apple cider mixture to the same pan & bring to a boil, whisking to pick up any browned bits on the bottom. Simmer until thickened slightly, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. (It should be savory/sweet.)
Drizzle the glaze over the roasted veggies while they are still on the baking sheet. (Optional: use a pastry brush to cover any dry spots. Garnish with the bacon, roasted pumpkin seeds and fresh sage. Serve warm.