Sprouts aren’t just for Christmas
Christmas is over. I hear you all sigh in relief. No more sprouts for another year!
There is an old Victoria Wood comedy song called "Reincarnation" that springs immediately to mind whenever I see or talk about brussel sprouts.
“I want to be Eileen Gumm, Who calls herself 'just a mum'. I want to have three big lads and a husband that I've driven nuts.........I'll make them gather round the Christmas table, and eat until to move they are unable. They’ll wish that Joseph never found that stable.... I'll put my sprouts on in November. …..........”
Why is that our abiding image of sprouts? Evil little foul smelling things that make the kitchen stink like feet all day and have an undesirable affect on Uncle George.
Well I for one think a sprout should never be crossed on the bottom or boiled. They are so small and tender they do not need help cooking. The cross is pointless. And boiling them just makes them little bland sponges. Given a helping hand though, the common little sprout can become extraordinary. Plus they are packed full of most of the vitamins you could name as well as cancer-fighting glucosinolates. So be brave. Read on.
I grew up detesting those damn things. Rank. I screwed up my face as a child and could only be cajoled into having two sprouts on my plate. I would stuff them in my mouth whilst holding my nose, all for the prospect of an extra large slice of Vienetta.
My mum you see, I think she puts hers on in October. Sorry mum.
As I grew up I realised that I'd have to find a way to prepare them I liked. As a chef it's impossible to avoid them for the whole of December. I soon realised that roasting or stir frying them brings out a natural sweetness that makes them lose all of that bitter taste we associate with the boiled version. It also adds a roasted flavour that is smoky and welcome on any brassica. Cabbage included.
Finally after years of playing I've discovered my perfect sprout recipe and it involves my favourite winter treat. The chestnut.
I challenge you to give it a try and banish all memories of the pallid vile boiled sprout. You will never look back.
Now, just have to convince my mum.