Get excited about Brussel sprouts

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Posted on: 5th December, 2016

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

Lettercollum Kitchen Project, 22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty, www.lettercollum.ie, info@lettercollum.ie

Brussels sprouts seem to be a love or hate vegetable but they have always been traditional for Christmas.

My mum reckons they have gone out of fashion but I guess there’s more choice these days so children are no longer force fed soggy sprouts.

I grew up thinking that I hated Brussels sprouts, soggy little green balls that smelt and tasted so strongly of cabbage – probably due to prolonged cooking. I was so fixed in this belief that I wouldn’t eat sprouts for years. We would cook them annually for the Christmas dinner then feed them to the chickens the following day. Eventually they were banned in our household when the kids pointed out the futility of this exercise.

This all changed when a friend gave us a few Brussels sprout plants, which thrived in our garden – another vegetable that is happy out in the Irish climate. Having a bountiful harvest of these pretty little edible buds bought forth all sorts of suggestions from sprout-loving friends, amongst them stir-frying and roasting, which were a revelation to me.

A few years down the line, we now grow an entire row of sprouts in the garden and are known to get quite excited about them.

Roasting sprouts requires a hot oven, if the temperature is not high enough you will not be successful, the sprouts will cook too slowly and become be soft and mushy, so this recipe isn’t a multi-task oven recipe unless a high temperature is required. Believe me, we’ve tried it!

These are delicious eaten simply with a bowl of rice but would also sit nicely beside chicken, turkey and duck for your Christmas dinner.

Chinese style roasted Brussels sprouts with cashews

Ingredients:

• 400g Brussels sprouts

• 2 red onions

• 75g cashew nuts

• 2tbs olive oil

• 3-4 spring onions

• 2-3 cloves garlic

• 2tbs tamari or soya sauce

• 1tbs honey or maple syrup

• 1tbs rice or cider vinegar

• 1dsp toasted sesame oil

• 1-2 tsp chilli sauce – to your taste

Method:

Pre heat the oven 220ºc.

Tidy up the Brussels sprouts, discard any tatty leaves and cut in half if they are big. Leave the small ones whole.

Peel the red onions and slice into wedges.

Toss the sprouts and onion wedges with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an oven tray and spread them out so that they are in a single layer. Put into the oven and roast for 10 minutes, take out, add the cashews then give the tray a shake to mix well and roast for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile peel and chop the garlic and put together with the tamari/soya sauce, honey/maple syrup, vinegar, chilli sauce and toasted sesame oil in a small saucepan.

Gently bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes.

Tidy up the spring onions and chop on the diagonal into half centimetre pieces.

As soon as the sprouts are ready, add the chopped spring onions, pour over the sauce and shake to coat evenly then pour into warmed serving dish.

Now this recipe is written I will get back to making Christmas cakes and puddings! The pace is stepping up in the shop and we are taking orders for all manner of Christmas baking, have a look at our advert for a list of Christmas goodies.

We have just finished this year’s cooking classes but the schedule for next year is ready so if you would like to give someone a culinary gift this holiday season, we have vouchers available.

And last but not least we wish you all happy feasting and fun for the festive season and every good wish for the coming year

Karen

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