So, who will be having Brussels sprouts with their Christmas dinner this year?
Once upon a time, if we asked that question, we would have undoubtedly had more ‘nays’ than ‘yahs’.
But as Simon and Garfunkel so eloquently put ‘the times they are a changin’.
It’s fair to say that Brussels sprouts have historically had a rough time. They were the marmite (more on this shortly) of the dinner table in that you either love them or hate them. There was no middle ground.
Some are put off by the smell that sometimes occurs when cooking them sprouts, but this is often simply due to overcooking.
As kids, we were used to our parents serving us Brussels sprouts, and other vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli that had been boiled to within an inch of their lives. Bless our parents, they knew not what they had done, other than removing all ounce of taste from said vegetables that is!
But we’re older and wiser now and with the help of the internet (which to be fair our parents didn’t have the benefit of) we’re discovering new ways of preparing and eating sprouts – and they no longer need to go anywhere near water, a bit like Gremlins (settle the office debate on this, Christmas movie or not?).
They are much better roasted or fried, but if you still like to boil them, only do so for a few minutes, unless you want to rekindle those childhood memories…
Oh, and these little green gems are packed full of nutritious goodness with high levels of vitamin A and C, folic acid and digestive fibre, which help to protect against colon and stomach cancer.
In fact, an 80g serving of sprouts contains four times more vitamin C than one orange.
Your honour, the case rests…
Chilli spiced crispy sprouts
For the sauce:
- 100g chopped onion
- 50mls olive oil
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- 105g tomato paste
- 130g tomato passata
- 1 pinch of chilli flakes
- 1 diced green chilli
- 1 diced red chilli
- 1tsp chilli powder
- 50mls red wine vinegar
- 1tsp salt
In a frying pan heat your oil up then fry off the onions and garlic till golden brown then add your chillies and tomato paste, cook for 2 minutes then add your passata, red wine vinegar and salt cook for 5 minutes then puree. Chill.
For the sprouts:
- 500g pre-prepared sprouts blanched in salted boiling water for 3 minutes
- 6 eggs
- 200g plain flour
- 500g panko breadcrumbs
Set your deep fat fryer to 180oc. Whisk your eggs together in a bowl. In other separate bowls have the flour and the breadcrumbs. First put your sprouts in the flour and cover in the flour then shake off any extra. Then into the eggs making sure all the excess is off. Lastly the same into breadcrumbs. Deep fry for 4 minutes. Season with salt and toss in the chilli sauce. Enjoy
Pancetta, cheddar cheese and sprout gratin
- 700g pre-prepared sprouts blanched in salted boiling water for 3 minutes
- 130g smoked diced pancetta
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 600g single cream
- 45g butter
- 35g flour
- 40g Dijon mustard
- 100g panko breadcrumbs
- 200g Cheddar cheese plus 50g for topping
Preheat your oven to 180oc. Start by heating up an oven safe pan and fry off the bacon. Once golden add the garlic and cook out for a few minutes then add the butter and flour and cook for a few minutes more. Then gradually start adding the cream until fully incorporated.
Once combined add the cheese and mix thoroughly then cook out for a few minutes. If the mix is too thick loosen slightly with water. Add the sprouts and mix well. Then on top cover with breadcrumbs and extra cheese. And bake until bubbling and golden. Enjoy
Marmite and parmesan roast sprouts
For the Marmite sprouts:
- 500g pre-prepared sprouts cut in half blanched in salted boiling water for 3 minutes
- 150g butter
- 20g rapeseed oil
- 60g marmite
- 15g white wine vinegar
- 150g grated parmesan
Pre-heat your oven to 200oc. In a pan melt the butter, oil and marmite. Once melted, add the sprouts and toss until evenly coated and then add the vinegar. Coat well then put on a baking tray and bake till the edges of the sprouts start to caramelise take out and sprinkle over the grated parmesan. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.