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A sprout is not just for Christmas….

A dog as we know is not just for Christmas … and neither is a sprout! Available right through from September until March (if you’re lucky) these little beauties from Brussels are extremely under-rated and should, we feel, be championed in all their glory outside the festive season. Despite in our youth being the recipients of 1 Brussels sprout on our Christmas Turkey plate, we now love them and are spreading the sprouty love. And we’re not the only one if you saw Thomasina Miers’ latest post in the Guardian

Brussels sprouts are a member of the Brassica family of vegetables, related to kale, broccoli and cauliflower and look just like mini cabbages. Although most often sold loose or in plastic bags (aargh ..) do try and get them still on their stalk, especially if the leafy sprout tops are still attached – these are delicious shredded and stir fried so 2 veggies for the price of one.

Brussels sprouts boast high levels of many nutrients including fibre, vitamins C & K, and antioxidants so are an important addition to your diet and easy to incorporate.

A sprout is not just for Christmas....

Perhaps the simplest way to cook them is to trim the base, discard any tough outer leaves and then boil in salted water for 5-10 minutes (until a knife goes in easily). Cook any longer and they’ll become mushy and rather unpleasant. There’s a constant debate as to whether you should cut a cross in the base of your sprouts before cooking – on balance we don’t think this is necessary as it can cause your sprouts to become water logged. If your sprouts are on the large side, just cut them in half.

But there are so many more ways to enjoy the humble sprout:

  • par-boil and then stir-fry with bacon lardons and chestnuts
  • finely shred your sprouts and then use instead of cabbage in coleslaw
  • fry up leftover sprouts, potatoes and onions to make a crusty Bubble & Squeak – great with sausages or a fried egg. Please pass the Tommy K!
  • roast your sprouts in a little olive oil and then toss with a mustard and honey dressing – add some crumbled fried black pudding and apple slices and you have a great starter
  • mix sliced sprouts with double cream, grated Parmesan and a pinch of nutmeg and heat until bubbling, then bake in a hot oven until golden brown and sizzling for a decadent gratin
  • make into kimchi or sauerkraut
  • cooked and shredded on pizza with roast duck and bubbling golden-brown Mozzarella
  • slow cook halved sprouts in olive oil and add chopped fresh parsley, seeds and finely grated orange zest for a fabulous side or serve them on top of a baked potato

Here’s out latest sprouty supper – so delicious we both wanted seconds but had eaten it all up in firsts!

Braised Brussels with Red Peppers & Potatoes

Quarter 6 sm-med waxy potatoes lengthways and start braising them with 2 deseeded and sliced red peppers in 3tbsp olive oil. A sprout is not just for Christmas....Add 1tsp Seaspoon’s chilli crush and a small pinch smoked Cornish seasalt. A sprout is not just for Christmas....Put a lid on the pan and keep braising over a low heat until the veggies are almost cooked. Add 80g trimmed and halved Brussels and put the lid on until they are all tender.A sprout is not just for Christmas.... Toss in 2tbsp sunflower seeds and 1tbsp chopped fresh parsley. Divide between 2 dishes for mains or 4 dishes for a side with some grilled meat or fish. A sprout is not just for Christmas....We added a few shavings of Parmesan over the top but obviously leave those off for a vegan main. So good we’re going to have to make it again!

Happy cooking!

David and Holly