Well, no, not really, but they're as much a part of Christmas in my house as watching the Queen's broadcast and making the mulled wine. And, like all cruciferous veg, they're good for us (broccoli, cauli and the rest are said to be ace at helping to prevent stomach cancer) so we ought to make more effort...
Of course, the Victoria Wood sketch about putting the sprouts on in October was meant to raise laughs, but I do reckon a large part of the problem is that we all had to endure soggy sprouts, cooked till all the colour had leached out of them and the water took on that sulphurous tinge, as children. And childhood memories are very potent.
The poor old sprout has had something of a bad press though. Cooked properly they are full of flavour and need to be al dente if they're to be enjoyed.
Delia has some cracking sprout recipes on the site, such as Caramelised Brussels Sprouts (right), but if you fancy something different, here's my tried-and-tested sprout staple for Christmas Day. The good thing about this dish is that it serves double duty as it's also got red onions and chestnuts in it, so you only really need one more veggie dish with your turkey. I defy any sprout hater not to enjoy it...
Sprout, chestnut and red onion saute
900g chestnuts or 1 x 879g can cooked, peeled chestnuts (Merchant Gourmet do a good one)
600ml chicken stock (only needed if using fresh chestnuts, rather than canned ones)
900g Brussels sprouts
450g medium red onions
grated zest of 1 lemon
handful of chopped parsley
salt and pepper
If using fresh chestnuts, nick the brown outer skins with a sharp knife and cook in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain, cool and remove shells and inner skins. Cover with stock and simmer for 20 minutes until tender. Drain well.
Meanwhile, trim the sprouts then cook in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. Drain well. Cut the celery into 2.5cm pieces' quarter the onions and separate the layers.
Melt the butter in a large pan. When it is foaming but not yet coloured, saute the celery and onions with the lemon zest until beginning to soften.
Stir in the Brussels sprouts and chestnuts, season and cook over a high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until piping hot. Cover and keep warm. Spinkle with parsley as a garnish.
I've had a look on the messageboard and there's a lovely recipe from Daisybob for Roast Brussel Wraps with Stilton Sauce. Here it is:
Daisybob's Roast Brussel Wraps with Stilton Sauce
Another option might be to puree your sprouts - I reckon they'd be good pureed with lots of double cream and butter, plus some nutmeg and plenty of black pepper!
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