Ah, the perfect Christmas side dish. A classic for a reason.
I was never a massive fan of sprouts growing up, but this was the dish that converted me. Buttery, sweet, and delicious piled alongside some perfect roast potatoes and a large helping of roast turkey or goose (yes, goose… I’m French… plus it tastes far better than so-often-boring turkey!).
When sprout season started in November and they started appearing on the local greengrocer’s shelves, I couldn’t resist buying a bag and seeing if I could convince my children to give them a go. The reaction was, well, mixed.
My foodie daughter, three-and-a-bit-years old and known in our house for being up for trying anything, sauntered over while I was shredding the raw sprouts and asked if she could try some. I hesitated. Raw sprouts?! Even I wouldn’t want that! Surely this would put her off them for good. But I didn’t want to quash her enthusiasm, so I handed her a few shredded sprout pieces and waited. She ate them, paused, then held out her hand and asked for more.
“These are yummy mummy. Do you like them?”
I had to try them myself now. No one likes a hypocrite after all. So I tried them, and God bless my little girl, she was right. They are sweet and delicious raw! They taste just like coleslaw mix. Yum. So I thought, perfect, I’ll give some to my two-year-old who has always had a taste for vegetables, particularly green ones.
He spat them into his hand and pushed it towards me.
“No like it anymore.”
Well, you can’t win them all. In retrospect, trying something new and notoriously disliked by children while he was teething and in an “I’ll only eat bread, fruit or carbs” phase was probably not my brightest idea.
I’ll keep trying, but in the meantime, this is my go-to for the rest of the family. A yummy, sweet and salty accompaniment to any roast, but especially delightful at Christmas, this buttery dish is the way to serve sprouts when the family are so-so about them. I’m not saying it’ll convert the haters (I’ve seen too many claims for that before), but it’ll certainly bump sprouts up the yummy list of those who aren’t totally convinced! My personal favourite way is to serve this dish is for a warming winter lunch topped with a fried egg. 🙂
The perfect side dish to accompany a Christmas roast, this classic recipe is delicious and nutritious! Packed with wholesome ingredients but tasting totally decadent at the same time, it'll convince many who are unsure about sprouts.
- 50 g (1/2 stick) salted butter (or use unsalted and add a generous pinch of salt)
- 200 g (2 cups) Brussels sprouts (fresh or frozen defrosted), finely shredded
- 125 g (4.5 oz) bacon lardons
- 185 g (1 and 1/2 cups) cooked chestnuts, quartered
- freshly grated Parmesan, to serve, optional
- coarsely ground black pepper, to serve
First, brown the butter: Place a frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Allow to melt and foam, then turn the heat down to low and keep a close eye on it. When the butter just starts to smell nutty and starts to turn a golden colour, add the shredded sprouts and fry for 5-10 mins, until soft and just starting to caramelise. Add the bacon and fry for a further 2-3 mins, until the bacon is cooked and starting to crisp up. Throw in the chestnuts for the last minute to heat through, then take off the heat and sprinkle generously with Parmesan (if using) and black pepper. A grating of nutmeg wouldn't go amiss here either!