Ahh, Brussels and their lovely sprouts. What a wondrous thing they gave us. They’re one of those marmite foods, you either love them or hate them, there’s nobody who says ‘yeah, they’re okay I guess, I could take them or leave them.’ It’s either yum or yuk, but luckily we both say a resounding yum.
According to Wikipedia (believe what you will) they were cultivated as early as the 13th Century in Belgium, spreading through to the Netherlands and into the colder climates of Europe. Yes, they’re a cold nation sort of veg, bitter enough to send a warm glow to your toes, those Mediterraneans don’t know what they’re missing out on.
I go on to quote from Wiki … ‘In Continental Europe, the largest producers are the Netherlands, at 82,000 metric tons, and Germany, at 10,000 tons. The United Kingdom has production comparable to that of the Netherlands, but it is not generally exported.’ … no we keep them all to ourselves because we love them, and even when our kids claim to hate them, they get force fed them at Christmas anyway, ha-ha. Actually I do find that slightly surprising because it is generally only at Christmas that most people eat them. They buy a massive net of them ‘because it’s Christmas’ which is still half full, rotting at the back of the veg drawer by the end of January.
I admit, mine were planted out with Christmas in mind, but I planted them early (I started them off a bit too early I think) and now they are ready for picking in September. Ideally you want a frost before you harvest them, as it’s supposed to improve their flavour, but one of my plants has already bolted, and I’m not about to loose the rest. They’ve been through the mill a bit with whitefly, mildew, slugs and caterpillars, but there are still lots of tiny ones, so I’m hoping the plants will hold strong and still bear me some sprouts come December, even if I have to pick them early and freeze them. I love the red colouring on these, the variety is called Rubine, the seeds were from Sarah Raven. They’re just as tasty as the green ones, and they do keep their colour so long as you don’t overcook them, which is a criminal thing to do anyway.
Inspiration for this recipe came from my M&S cook app, and being lovers of a good old hash, decided to give it a go. Apologies for the unappetising photo of the end result. A hash is meant to look exactly that, so it’s a tricky thing to make photogenic, but you have to trust me that it tastes great.
Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)
- Brussels Sprouts – I’m not sure of the quantity as I didn’t weight them, but a good heaped soup bowl full for 2 people.
- 4 good quality pork sausages
- 1 onion
- Potatoes, 2 regular sized cut into cubes, or else the equivalent of small potatoes, halved if necessary
- 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
- A splash of white wine or cider
- Drizzle of oil
- Trim the sprouts and slice the onion.
- Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes, drain and put aside.
- Do the same with the sprouts.
- Heat the oil in a wide shallow pan, add the sausages and cook whole for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Take out and put aside to cool slightly.
- Add the potatoes to the pan and cook until just starting to brown at the edges.
- Add the onion and cook until this softens.
- Add the sprouts to the pan, stir.
- Slice the sausages down to 3 or 4 chunks per sausage and add these back to the pan.
- Add a splash of wine or cider to the pan, and a teaspoon of the mustard. Stir together.
- Put a lid on the pan and leave everything to cook together for 5-10 minutes. Check one of the potatoes, and if they’re soft, you’re ready.
I added a sprinkle of chives over at the end for decoration, hoping to make it look better, but they’re not really essential. You could try adding sprouts to a corned beef hash, but I do think pork generally goes very well with sprouts, or any of the brassica family.