An ode to everyone’s least favourite vegetable: the brussels sprout

And two ways to cook & serve them…

I really like brussels sprouts. An abnormal amount. I strongly believe that they deserve better than to be relegated to the Christmas-specific category of foods – that being said, feel free to bookmark this for Christmas inspiration if you find yourself lacking.

Perhaps because of the general population’s disdain for them, when I lived in the U.K., brussels sprouts were one of the cheapest green vegetables you could get your hands on. I’m talking like 39p for a 500g bag. Partly as a result of this, they were a favourite of mine when I was a student in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, here in Switzerland, they’re about 5x the price – however, such is my adoration for these unpopular little cabbages that my demand is inelastic (see, I’m learning economics!).

Below you’ll find a couple of my favourite ways to cook and serve them. I posted the recipe for the above-pictured goats cheese, pomegranate, roasted carrot, sprouts and squash salad separately to avoid confusion / verbal clutter. I’ve been working on my food photography as promised, but can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept of staging. The random lemon & pomegranate in the pic just look so stupid to me, not gonna lie. But we persevere!

Pomegranate Molasses Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The pomegranate molasses add a lovely hint of sweetness to these sprouts. They can be purchased at most large supermarkets, but extra points for getting them from your local Middle Eastern store. I love adding roasted brussels sprouts to a winter salad, as above. Otherwise, they make for an excellent side to pretty much anything and I keep leftovers to throw into my random salad of the day.

Ingredients

500g brussels sprouts

1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp olive oil

salt, to taste

Method

1- Preheat oven to fan 180ºc.

2- Cut the ‘butts’ (aka stalks) off the sprouts and halve them.

Buttless brussels sprouts

3- Place in a colander and rinse thoroughly.

4- Shake off any excess water from rinsing, and place sprouts in a larger bowl. Pour over pomegranate molasses, olive oil and salt and mix until covered.

5- Place on baking tray and into the oven. Cooking should take about 30 minutes, possibly longer, but I’d recommend setting a timer for 30 and checking at that point. You want them to be golden and crispy, but not too hard in terms of texture.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Sauteéd with Maple Syrup & Balsamic Vinegar

Any regular reader knows how obsessed I am with my food processor, and this is as good a way as any to get optimum use out of it. The food processor does make this dish infinitely easier to make, but it’s not wholly necessary. You can use a mandoline or your fine chopping abilities if you, unlike me, possess them.

These I would serve as a side dish for a protein of your choosing, or bulk up by adding chestnuts towards the end (I love the combination of sprouts and chestnuts). Coincidentally, Tom accompanied these with a turkey schnitzel, and this is a great recipe to bookmark for a Christmas side dish.

Ingredients

500g brussels sprouts

2 tbsp olive oil

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp maple syrup

30ml water (more if necessary)

salt, to taste

Method

1- As before, cut the ‘butts’ (aka stalks) off the sprouts, but this time no need to halve them.

2- Wash sprouts in colander and shake off excess water.

3- Attach slicing attachment to food processor and whizz away (see below). Otherwise, slice finely or use a mandoline to achieve the same effect.

Cute little tennis balls

4- Heat oil in a large frying pan on high heat, and add sprouts and 30ml water. Keep stirring until water is absorbed, adding more if necessary.

5- Once water is absorbed, add maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and stir until well mixed. Add salt to taste.

*Optional – stir in 75g shelled chestnuts.

Here served with chopped chestnuts – in future I wouldn’t bother chopping, they’re nicer whole

6- Once sprouts start to get crispy (you want some of that wok hei), remove from heat.

Leftover rating – 2/3 (for both). They will keep well in the fridge for a good few days, but make sure your container is well sealed, because sprouts do give off a distinctive smell. I haven’t tried freezing and imagine it’s possible, but may impact the texture.

I haven’t met my personal KPI of one post per week in the past week, for which I apologise to my non-existent regular readers. Ironically, this is a measure of me procrastinating less on my degree work, so its maybe not wholly a bad thing!

Either way, I’ll do better next week, when I plan to finally share my exhaustive charity shopping guide (I’m waiting until I have a full-length mirror at which to take outfit selfies – important).

Stay safe, and a special shoutout to my U.K. friends under lockdown – it’s a great chance to do some cooking I guess?

-Alice

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