- Serves 2 as a side Prep time: 20-30 mins
- Sprouts – enough for 2 as a side
- 2 Rashers Bacon
- 50ml left over white wine / Prosecco (No, I don’t know what that is either)
- 100g / half a tub soft cheese
- Lemon Juice, if you have it
I might set up a Brussel Sprout Appreciation Society (West Bucks division) I love ’em! That earthy taste is so unique, and aside from actual Marmite, it’s one flavour that splits the nation. We’ve all heard the joke about Nan putting the sprouts on in September, ready for Christmas Day… well here’s the lowdown on this very underrated and versatile vegetable, and a recipe to elevate it to the Sprouty heights where I believe it belongs.
Part of the cabbage family, Sprouts are high in Vitamin C & D. We’ve been cultivating them for about 700 years (someone’s probably been simmering a pan full of them for about the same length of time) and they derive their name from Brussels the region. So, we can all blame Brussels then…
Moving on. Lets prep. Put a saucepan of water on to boil – no need to add salt, that’ll come later. If you’re feeling especially lazy, buy them ready trimmed. I wanted the trimmings for gravy stock, so I trimmed a slice off the base, removed any loose leaves, and put a little cut in the stem of each sprout to aid even cooking.
Cheffy tip: Any veg that grows underground goes on the stove in cold water, which you bring to the boil. Veg grown above ground is put straight into boiling water to cook.
The key is to check the largest sprout – stab it with a fork to see if it’s done. (All the smaller ones will take less time to cook) It’ll take 5-10 mins, and we want them only just cooked. As soon as they are ready, take them out and run them under cold water. This stops the cooking process and keeps them nice and green! Let them drain for a few minutes in a colander, and then cut them in half lengthways.
Fry off 2 rashers of thick unsalted bacon, sliced into small strips. Add your sliced Brussels to the frying pan, and let it all sizzle away! Add the wine, and bring back up to temperature, then finally add the cream cheese. Stir it all together. The alcohol will burn off, leaving the flavours of the wine behind. If the sauce is too thin, then clearly you’ve added waaaaay too much wine – an easy mistake to make. The sauce will naturally reduce if you keep it simmering on the heat.
Add a healthy crack of pepper, and a little squeeze of lemon to finish the dish off. Allow to cool and refrigerate in a plastic container. This can be made ahead of time – if the sauce thickens in the fridge, add a tablespoon of water before microwaving.
Trust me, you’ll love it, and there’s not a grey sprout in sight.