The perfect accompaniment to everything as far as I’m concerned, I just lerve brussels sprouts. So much so I eagerly await their arrival in the run up to Christmas time but, oh boy, I can well remember the days of overcooked sprouts when I was small: criss crossed through the bottom and boiled to a pungent, sludge-green state of near collapse, it’s hardly surprising most people grow up with a hatred of this school dinner winter staple. Yet, sautéed in plenty of good fat and left tender with a firm bite, you get a whole new experience. These are the real deal. In fact, brussels sprouts are, inarguably, one of the more toothsome veggies that could possibly grace your meal time plate and, whoop-woo get this, they are unbelievably healthy too.
In the absence of chestnuts, that’ll be my former pairing of choice, this is my new favourite way with brussels sprouts. I love to put cranberries with them too but not to eat alongside turkey, I want cranberries in my sauce and a variety in my veggies. Cooking them this way offers a winning sweet and sour experience – you’ll find the apple cider vinegar lends a surprise tang to the salinity of the anchovies and orange-y sweetness. So, so good, more than good enough to make school dinner brussels a definitive thing of the past!
Are you organized? Have you done your shopping? Written your letter to Santa? More importantly, have you ordered your turkey? I must have been good this year because Santa is starting out generous. I can never understand people who say they don’t own a food processor. Mine is without a shadow of a doubt the most used appliance I have ever owned (well, that and my Waterpik but that’s a new love affair) and the thought of not having one fills me with horror. So when the bowl finally decided it had had enough and it became obvious that super gluing it together wasn’t the long term fix I had hoped for, I decided to look to Santa instead. I now have a big box under the tree and if the good people of Amazon got it right, this is what lies inside 🙂 .
charred brussels sprouts with anchovies and orange
This is a generous quantity for 4 people and perfect for 6, but I like to cook more than I need since they make super tasty leftovers.
Print the recipe here
3 tbsp solid fat (I use lard)
2 lb brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved lengthways
8 anchovy fillets (canned in olive oil/sea salt), rinsed and chopped
zest and juice of 1 large navel orange
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
sea salt, if necessary
Heat a large hob-proof roasting pan over a medium-high heat and add the fat. Making sure the fat melts to cover the entire base, tip in the brussels sprouts and cook, most of them cut side down until semi-charred, about 5 minutes or so. Don’t stir them around, leave them to get some colour on them. Next, give the pan a good shake to turn the sprouts over and continue to cook, a further 2-3 minutes. Now stir in the remaining ingredients and let the juice bubble away until it coats the sprouts, about 2 minutes. They should still be tender and retain their Kermit green colour. Taste and add sea salt if necessary – though you will more than likely find the anchovies do the job for you.
Transfer to a warmed serving dish and enjoy!