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Ingredient of the week: sprouts

22 DECEMBER 2011 A relative of the cabbage (a descendant of the wild variety), debate rages over the Brussels sprout.

Some love their hint of bitterness, leafy flesh and healthy bite; others detest these same faculties – perhaps they are still suffering from a hangover of school dinners or lunches at the grandparents, when it was de rigeur to cook your sprouts for hours until grey and soggy.


You’ll hear all manner of chefs now screaming for you not to mark the bottoms with an x - a traditional that was meant to ensure the cruciferous little numbers cooked through.

They don’t need it – indeed they are happiest when cooked little, maintaining their snap and bite. A combination of sweet chestnuts and salty bacon make perfect plate partners for sprouts – and both of those go so well with Christmas lunch.

As with turkey, our favourite meal of the year just wouldn’t be the same without even a nominal bowl of these gracing the table.

But hark, a sprout is not just for Christmas – you can eat them in other months too; try some of these delicious twists for some other uses of the little green gems.

Click here for recipes for brussel and potato croquettes, crunchy sprout salad with pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinegar and stir-fried sprouts with lemon and chilli

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