Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Dubliner Cheese
Although I continue to eat and enjoy meat, I seem to be gradually losing my taste for it. Take last Sunday night. I wanted to cook something comforting and special, and I had the time and energy to make just about anything.

I thought of all the usual standbys—chicken potpie, beef stew, roast chicken. Nope, none of those appealed. I googled Sunday suppers and clicked on recipes like pork roast and shepherd’s pie. Nothing attracted my taste buds there either. In the end, I realized I was craving Spaghetti Squash Lasagna that Maggy and I had baked up a few days before, and that’s what I made.

But I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian. The big reason—I love bacon too much. I guess it’s the salty, sweet, crunchy factor that’s got me hooked. Wrap it around my favorite vegetable—Brussels sprouts—with a little Dubliner cheese sandwiched in between, and it’s my new favorite hors d’oeuvre.

And just in time. These bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts have a serious St Patty’s Day feel. So if there isn’t time to make the traditional corned beef and cabbage, assemble a platter of these, crack open a beer, and toast the day!

Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Dubliner Cheese
Makes 2 dozen

6 long, lean thick-cut bacon slices
24 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 ounces Dubliner cheese, sliced thin and cut into 24 approximate 1-inch squares

Fry bacon in a large skillet until some of the fat has rendered but bacon is still pliable, just a few minutes. Drain and then halve each bacon slice crosswise and then each halve each piece lengthwise to form 4 short thin strips.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon renderings and add 1/2 cup of water to the skillet. Place Brussels sprout halves, cut side down in a single layer, in skillet and cover. Turn burner on high and steam until water has almost evaporated and Brussels sprouts are bright green, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove lid, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until Brussels sprouts’ cut sides are golden brown, removing them as they color. Let Brussels sprouts cool slightly.

Sandwich a piece of cheese between 2 Brussels sprout halves, wrap a bacon strip around Brussels sprout, secure with a toothpick and place on a small rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining Brussels sprouts, cheese, and bacon. (Can be covered and refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature before baking.)

When ready to serve, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake Brussels sprouts until bacon browns and cheese melts, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve.