Ah, poor Brussel sprout...why do so many people dislike you?
I mention a craving and some gaze upon me with a horrified look that could only mean that I've converted to the cult of big box freezer meats and other processed dinners stores...or worse yet, have become a gym bunny.
Really, these cute little leafy, Smurf-sized cabbages can't be all bad can they? Well, I suppose with initials like BS, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people don't necessarily trust them when presented.
Even a supper party teaming with good-eating (as in adventurous) foodish friends elicits dubious looks at a pot loaded with brussel sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts (from Nigella's Feast). I proudly announce that their scant and polite first portions were not only hoovered, but followed by proper sized second (in some cases a third) helpings, and in the process, I'd won converts to my altar of Brussel sprouty adoration.
The problem, it seems, is a prediliction for boiling the happiness out of these little spheroids until they are greyed, almost mushy and devoid of...sparkle. Why would anyone do that to a lovely little cluster of leaves? Really.
For me, there is no such thing as a lowly Brussel sprout, to be treated with anything that hints at derision. Really, all they need is a bit of a steaming--just enough to take away the squeak add a bit of vibrancy to their colour...a bit of salt, pepper and butter (everything is better with butter). My Dear Little Cardamummy curries them. I've been known to add them to a veggie pasta as well as pizza. But, truth be told, I normally take a page from La Lawson and other recipe writers who pair them with bacon. Really...like butter, everything is better with bacon.
So the other week, when a local grocer had my adored little cabbages on special offer, I was in a mini-bliss...and treated them as a hash-like main course. Not only does it use left over boiled potatoes, it's very easy and quite satsifying. The quantities are specific, but not--if you want more meat, add more meat. If you want fewer potatoes, don't add as many. Change it up as you wish--a favourite variant uses sweet potatoes and thick bacon cubes.
Brussel sprouts with sausage and potatoes
2 Italian sausages, freed from their casings
Half a medium globe onion, sliced in lunettes
2 garlic cloves, minced
A pinch or more of chilli flakes
350g leftover boiled potatoes, cubed (or you can parboil them)
350g Brussel sprouts, cleaned and quartered
60 ml water
A few dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Brown the sausage; remove the meat leaving the fat in the pan. Soften the onions in the pan, adding oil as needed. Add the minced garlic and chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Tip in the potatoes and brown, stirring occasionally. Remove the potatoes and add the brussel sprouts with the water; lid the pan and let the veg steam for a few minutes until vibrant. Strain out any remaining water and reintroduce the potatoes and the sausage and Worcestershire. Mix well and adjust seasoning to taste.