20 November 2008

Brussel sprouts with sausage and potatoes

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
Olive oil
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.


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Delora said...

Brussel sprouts are actually one of my 8yo's favorite vegetables. Of course, he only lets me serve them roasted. But when something is that tasty roasted with a bit of oil and salt, then finished with some pepper and a splash of acid, who really needs any other way?

Then again, if I throw sausage into the mix, I'm sure he wouldn't mind the lack of roasting (given that sausage is his favorite food in the world!).

Fitness Foodie said...

Nice mixture, and great to use seasonal veggies.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people dislike Brussels sprouts because they have been served over cooked ones for so very long.

The trick is to cook them just enough to release the natural sugars but not so long that their natural bitterness is enhanced, right?

Anonymous said...

Oh thank goodness I'm not the only person in the world who craves brussel sprouts!

My normal way is to saute them until they get almost black and then mash them and put about half a stick of butter on top but I think I'll give this a try. I have some really good Italian sweet sausage I need to use.

Katerina said...

I love them too. I grew up with parents who hated them so it wasn't until my twenties that I even tasted them for the first time and I was hooked!

Anonymous said...

Yum yum yummy yum, I love brussel sprouts and we have them often with pancetta or speck or even just ham. Love this version and if it EVER gets cold here this year I will definitely be trying it!

Deborah said...

I love Brussels sprouts, and this is such a different way to have them!

The Messy Baker said...

I don't like them because they're bitter. Perhaps I'm not buying them young enough? Overcooking is another kiss of death, but still... why go Brussels sprouts when you can broccoli or green bean?

giz said...

I must be one of the very last people in the world who adores brussel sprouts. I just don't get what the aversion is about - they're fantastic and so good for you.

Kristen said...

I've actually never had brussel sprouts, but I'd like to try. Just seems like I should. :)

Indonesia Eats said...

I didn't know that so many people don't like brussel sprouts. I love them :D

Molly Loves Paris said...

Daughter #4 and I absolutely adore brussel sprouts, and also we both know that no one else likes them at all. So what we do is steam them till just done enough, add salt and butter, and then eat them while standing there in the kitchen. They never make it to the table.