Christmas Brussels Sprout Recipes
Christmas dinner just isn't the same without Brussels Sprouts. In the Uk, from autumn until spring Brussels Sprouts are readily available and cheap. They are packed full of nutrients, antioxidants and bio flavonoids; they count as one of your 'five a day', and contain iron and calcium. Why would you not eat them?
I absolutely adore this vegetable and could eat boiled sprouts three times a day without becoming bored, BUT, I know there are a few strange people out there who struggle to love the humble sprout, let alone actually put one in their mouth, so maybe these recipe ideas might tempt even hardened sprout haters to give this nutritious vegetable another try.
Be warned, though, that I'm a homely cook and rarely measure the amounts of anything, preferring to go by eye and throw as much of something in as I want.
Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
Most people boil their sprouts with chestnuts, but I think they're nicer like this.
Take a good quantity of Sprouts, more than you think you'll need, because they reduce down. Cut them into small pieces, or shred them finely. Fry a small onion, or a clove of garlic in a little oil (butter, if you're not watching your cholesterol), throw in the sprouts and toss them around a little, add some chestnuts. Unless you're really keen to shell, blanch then skin these I'd use vacuum packed or tinned. Cook the whole dish for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts begin to soften.
Serve as a side dish.
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
This is another very quick, simple side dish. If you want to know how to make this into a main meal - click here.
Again take a good quantity of Sprouts and cut them into shreds. In a little oil or butter, as before, fry off two cloves of garlic for around thirty seconds, then add in a small pack of Pancetta, fry both of these until the Pancetta begins to brown. Add in the shredded Sprouts and fry the whole lot until the Sprouts begin to soften - then enjoy!
Cooking the Sprouts until they just begin to wilt makes them easily digested, but doesn't destroy as many nutrients as boiling would.
English Bubble and Squeak
This dish is pure Ambrosia! The best Bubble and Squeak is made from leftovers, so make sure that when you cook your Christmas Dinner you do too much mashed potato and too many sprouts.
Take your cold mashed potato and cold Sprouts (cut the sprouts up if they are whole) and place them in a bowl together. Grate in a small onion (grating it ensures that it cooks through, so you don't get chunks of raw stuff, just the flavour), season with a little black pepper and salt. Mix well until the ingredients form an homogenous lump.
If the mixture appears wet, mix in 1oz of flour. If you want neat little patties, which are probably easier to manage for a first time bubble and squeaker, then either make rounds using rings, or form into patties by hand. My Mum used to cook this as one big lump, which is how I like it, but it's harder to get it cooked trhough without burning the outside.
Get some oil good and hot in a non stick frying pan, as the aim is to cook this through and have a nice golden crust on the outside. Place your Bubble and Squeak mixture in; it should sizzle straight away. Cook for a five minutes on either side until cooked through and golden brown. Don't be tempted to move the mixture around in the pan, it's best left alone.
Bubble and Squeak can be eaten for breakfast with a nice fried egg (poached if you're being healthy) and a bit of bacon if you're a meat-eater, or try it with leftover cold meat and some homemade pickles (we have some homemade Picallili just waiting for the next batch of Bubble and Squeak), or just on it's own with some ketchup or brown sauce.
Brussels Sprout Soup
This is nicer than it sounds - honest! Again it's a way to use up leftover veg and is healthy. soups can help people struggling to lose weight, as the evidence shows that they stay in the stomach for quite a long time, thus making you feel fuller for longer, so make sure you have plenty of veg left over from Christmas Dinner.
In a large pan, fry off some onion until soft, add in two sticks of celery and two shredded carrots and fry these until soft. Add in all of your leftover vegetables, potatoes included (even if roasted), cover with boiling water and simmer for twenty to thirty minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, then blend the whole lot together.
If you're feeling fancy, serve with a swirl of cream on the top and some good bread. We particularly like Spelt bread or herb scones.
Brussels Sprouts Are For Life - Not Just For Christmas
Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are going through a bit of a revival at present, and they turn up on restaurant menus with startling regularity, but they're a nutritious and healthy form of protein, so this could be a side dish, or a light meal if served with good quality bread.
This is one dish where you really need to use butter, because you want it to go that nutty brown colour to complement the hazelnuts, and oil just doesn't do that.
Fry a small onion in some melted butter, then add a good handful of hazelnuts per person, and fry for a minute. Add in plenty of shredded Sprouts, and continue to fry until the dish takes on a brown, nutty hue from the butter. Pile into a dish and enjoy.
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