Winter is here! And alongside that, comes all the amazing fruits and vegetables for your festive feasts.
Christmas is the time of the year when food comes to the forefront of social occasions, family gatherings, and evenings in in-front of the fireplace. From roast dinners, to sharing platters.
We have a love hate relationship with them, but they are not to be ignored; Brussel sprouts are a staple for us at Christmas. There are so many ways you can incorporate them into dishes, or even create dishes around them!
If you want to keep it simple; this recipe is for you.
The best Brussels sprouts ever
These sprouts are dressed with a humble helping of either butter or olive oil, then seasoned judiciously.
450g medium-sized brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, cut in half lengthways 600ml water 1½ tsp salt 25-50g butter or extra virgin olive oil Black pepper
1 Put the water and salt in a saucepan (it’s really important to add enough salt) and bring to a fast, rolling boil. Toss in the sprouts, cover for 1 minute, until the water returns to the boil, then uncover and continue to cook for 3-6 minutes (depending on size), until the sprouts are cooked through, but still have a slight bite. Drain very well. If you are not serving the sprouts immediately, refresh them now under cold water, then, just before serving, drop them into boiling salted water for a few seconds to heat through.
2 To serve, melt a little butter or heat some extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Roll the sprouts gently in the butter and season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Taste and serve immediately in a hot serving dish.
If you want to change up a classic, here's a great twist!
What's that? Sprouts in blankets
Pair your sprouts with pancetta
Makes 20 2 litres water 1 tbsp salt 20 medium sprouts, bases trimmed flat, outer leaves removed 2 tbsp rapeseed oil 25 thin smoked pancetta slices (or dry-cured smoked streaky bacon), roughly chopped 2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 Add the water and salt to a pan and bring up to a rolling boil. Drop the sprouts in and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and plunge into iced water to cease the cooking. They should take about 5 minutes to cool – they can be drained as soon as they have returned to room temperature. Leave to dry on a couple of sheets of kitchen towel.
2 Set a medium-size frying pan on the stove with the rapeseed oil over a medium heat. Toss the pancetta into the hot pan and fry it until it is gently caramelised, all the fat has rendered and the bacon is a deep brown. This shouldn’t take too long, so it is essential to keep a close eye on the process.
3 Once ready, remove from the heat. Remove the pancetta with a fork carefully – you want to leave all the fat and cooking juices behind.
4 Place the pan back on the heat and add the sprouts. Once they begin to sizzle, add the sherry vinegar and cook for a further minute, rolling the sprouts in the fat and vinegar.
5 When the minute is up, tip the sprouts on to a plate and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.
6 Once cool, wrap the sprouts in the pancetta, secure with a cocktail stick and place on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 for 6 minutes, or until the pancetta begins to crisp around the edges.
There's so many wonderful winter vegetables to choose from during this festive period, from cabbages to carrots, cauliflower, fennel, leeks, parsnips. Roasting them is a great way to bring out the rich flavours, don't be scared to try something new this Christmas!
You can also check out an abundance of recipes from BBC Good Food
Here's something very different! Charred Sprouts with Marmite Butter!
Bubble & Squeak
However you choose to do your sprouts this Christmas, make sure any leftovers don't go to waste! Boxing Day bubble and squeak is always a favourite, pop a poached egg on top and you've got breakfast sorted!
1 tbsp duck fat, goose fat or butter
4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
15-20 cooked Brussels sprout, sliced, or leftover boiled cabbage, shredded
400g cold leftover mashed potato, or cold crushed boiled potatoes
1.Melt 1 tbsp duck fat, goose fat or butter in a non-stick pan, allow it to get nice and hot, then add 4 chopped streaky bacon rashers. As it begins to brown, add 1 finely sliced onion and 1 chopped garlic clove.
2.Next, add 15-20 sliced cooked Brussels sprouts or shredded boiled cabbage and let it colour slightly. All this will take 5-6 mins.
3.Add 400g cold mashed potato. Work everything together in the pan and push it down so that the mixture covers the base of the pan.
4.Allow the mixture to catch slightly on the base of the pan before turning it over and doing the same again. It’s the bits of potato that catch in the pan that define the term ‘bubble and squeak’, so be brave and let the mixture colour.
5.Cut into wedges and serve.