At this time of year, I’m always fooled into thinking the members of my family love sprouts more than they really do. After everyone’s eaten the obligatory five for Christmas dinner, I’m often left with a fridge drawer stuffed with those controversial vegetables well into the new year.
This year, I’m aiming to get ahead of the game with these fresh new recipes, designed to please even the most ardent brassica hater.
Smoked sprout soup
For this smoky, filling winter warmer, you’ll need:
- 100g Brussels sprouts, peeled and trimmed
- 1 small potato
- 1 small red onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 250ml turkey or chicken stock – if you’re feeling virtuous, you can make some from the turkey carcase
- 100ml double cream
- 1 standard 400g tin of chestnuts
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 40g butter
What to do:
Cut the sprouts into small pieces. Peel and chop the onion, and put that and the sprouts into a large heavy bottomed pan with the butter.
Cook gently until the onions are soft. Peel and crush the garlic, and add it to the mixture along with the paprika, stirring for a few seconds.
Meanwhile, peel the potato and cut it into small pieces.
Add the stock to the pan and let it come to the boil. Add the potato, and reduce the heat until the soup is just simmering. Cook for around 20 to 25 minutes or until the potato pieces are soft. Add the chestnuts, and cook for another five minutes.
Sprouts and bacon bake
- Sprouts and bacon bake
This makes a great side dish, or even a light main meal when served with salad and crusty bread.
What you’ll need:
- 60g butter
- 2 sticks of celery, washed, trimmed and cut into 1cm pieces
- 1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 700g Brussels sprouts, peeled, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 60g flour
- 200ml milk
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 rashers bacon
What to do:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cut the bacon into small strips, and fry it gently, adding a tiny dab of butter if necessary, until cooked and crispy. Remove from pan and put on one side. Add the remaining butter, onions and celery to the pan, and gently saute until soft.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the Brussels sprouts for four minutes until they’re a little soft but still bright green in colour. Drain the pain and put the sprouts on one side.
Add the flour to the onion mixture, and stir until you have a smooth paste. Stir in the mustard and add in the milk, and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.
Add the nutmeg, sprouts and bacon and give everything a good stir round. Spoon it all into a baking dish, and bake for around 10 minutes until golden on top.
Roasted sprouts with almonds
This makes a delicious side dish, and the crunchy, caramelised roasted sprouts will convince even the most hardened of sprouts haters!
- 100g split almonds
- 700g Brussels sprouts, peeled, trimmed and cut in half lengthways
- 50ml vegetable oil or 2 tablespoons goose fat, depending on taste
- salt and pepper
- 100g fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
What to do:
Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put the almonds on a baking tray, and put them in the oven for around a minute – watch them closely as they are quick to burn!
Put the sprouts and vegetable oil in a large bowl and toss together with spoons until the sprouts have an even coating. (If you’re using goose fat, melt it for 30 seconds in the microwave first).
Add salt and pepper to taste, then tip the sprouts on the backing tray you used for the almonds, and turn them so they’re facing cut side down. Put them in the oven and let them roast for around 20 minutes, checking occasionally, until browned and cooked through.
For the last five minutes of cooking time, sprinkle the sugar over the tray and return it to the oven.
By Sara Walker