Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eat your sprouts - they're good for you


It is my turn to cook the Christmas meal this year; Mr Fancy's ma and I take it in turns each year and this will be the first year I have elected to make a normal Christmas meal. I usually go for the quirky option - the Chinese or Indian alternative, the cold buffet, anything but the whole turkey shebang. But middle-age brings sentimentality to these holidays and I think that this year I am - almost - going to Go Traditional.

I've got my organic locally-reared turkey in the freezer and I'm planning on roasting all the accompanying vegetables - even the dreaded Brussel sprout. These are the little green balls that people are either openly hostile to - but eat because it is Tradition, or else are mildly ambivalent about- they just get eaten because they are also on the plate. However, if the sprouts are roasted they actually become something that people want to eat. Nothing is nicer than a dish of roasted sprouts with pancetta and chestnuts caramelised against them.

Best of all - the kitchen doesn't have that smell of boiling brassica - not a good Christmas odour at all. However, you do still get the other Christmas odour as a result of the roasted sprouts. Some things never change -open the window please.

26 comments:

Dumdad said...

We're having sprouts tomorrow. I like them but it depends on how they're cooked, of course. I've trained my French wife to cook them just right. Of course.

Henry the Dog said...

My mum adores sprouts - especially done the way you do them. Trouble is, she doesn't adore what they do to her body;) Mum says she has yet to find a good sprout in France, she says the ones she's tried simply don't taste as good as they used to in the UK - any idea where she's going wrong? Mum says the Indian alternative sounds like fun too. That's another thing mum misses - a good indian, she used to live not so far from a place called Bradford, which I think is in India - so she often gets withdrawal symptoms. I'll end up with my usual Royal Canin and a bit of turkey skin - if I'm lucky.

Frankofile said...

Erm you couldn't give your recipe could you? I love sprouts and will eat them any way possible - though just lightly boiled is fine!

Have you seen veronicay's recipe at http://www.larecettedujour.org/2008/12/pasta-with-brussels-sprouts.php ? I've not tried it yet as I try to avoid fats (what? You saw me eating a religieuse au cafe earlier? Mois??!*@!)

Mama said...

My sister loves em, me!, I wish chocolate tasted like brussel sprouts then I wouldnt eat that either :). funnily enough we had a decent Indian last night, we are so excited because we have scoured the whole of SF to find one for five years now!. (I blame Brick Lane), we always have a 'curry evening' in January and get all the Brits over, not a brussel sprout in sight!. I might try a small dish of your roasted veg though it does look delicious.

Veggie Carrie said...

Your post inspired me, French Fancy. I just nipped out to the shop to buy some brussel sprouts for Sunday dinner tomorrow. I'm going to be in Canada for Christmas and sprouts aren't eaten at Christmas there, so I'll have them early. That said, I don't like them that much, but they will make a change as I haven't eaten them for ages and they're traditional.

French Fancy said...

Dumdad - do you all have Sunday lunch together? It's such a family tradition round here but you're in a more sophisticated part of France

Henry - I can't say that I've found a difference in the sprouts I've bought here. I like to stir fry them as well with ginger and walnuts in walnut oil - that is yummy. I've been experimenting a lot lately with Indian spices - I just like the feel of a pestle and mortar - cue for sniggering

Frankie - I don't have a recipe per se - I will just roast the following: sprouts, baby onions, pumpkin, par-boiled spuds, carrots, turnips, parsnips (if I can find some - it's not easy),chestnuts (tinned ones, added in about 10 mins before the end) - I'll hurl in some sage, thyme and rosemary, s&p, a little bit of demerara sugar (although some people prefer honey and others swear by maple syrup) and a big glug of olive oil. Roast on about 200 for 45mins.

Mama Kathy - I suppose you are more spoilt with Chinese food in San Francisco than anything.Do you know I never used to like curries but I do now - but not too hot. I like the subtle spices more

Carrie - Enjoy your lunch tomorrow. Have a good time in Canada - I guess you'll see lots of snow there - don't fall over. Although everyone I know there seldom goes outside during the snowy time.

Blu said...

I too spent many years doing unconventional Christmas meals. I do like sprouts but I dare no eat too many. I normally steam them..Trouble with the ones here in France is that they are about the size of tennis balls!! I wonder why?????

blogthatmama said...

FF I absolutely love brussel sprouts but I've never ever tried them roasted, I've got some in the fridge and it's roast chicken tomorrow so I'm going to try it.

Contemporary Troubadour said...

The recipe sounds delicious! I'll have to try it when I get back to Seattle. For now, I'm attempting to make the food in my fridge disappear within the remaining number of days I have at Little U. on the Prairie before the end of the semester.

When you buy sprouts at the market, how do you choose them? Firmness? Fragrance? Color? I have no idea since I've never bought any before. I grew up on broccoli and bok choy :).

Lee said...

Reminded me of a post a friend did where he called sprouts Satan's Bollocks. They seem to be something of an acquired taste. The sprouts, not Satan's Bollocks.

lady jicky said...

I did not know you could roast them FFancy!
So I am going to give it a go but I want to know - how long do they stay in the pan and surely you put them in towards the end of roasting a big bird for they would turn out like dried up bullets?????

As for what they "do" here is a note from Rosie -
"All you dogs out there - go outside and stay in your kennels - that way they cannot blame the smell on YOU!"
Kisses, Rosie

nikkicrumpet said...

I'll take your word for it...I HATE brussel sprouts. Although the hubby loves the baby ones.

French Fancy said...

Blu - I couldn't eat them steamed'cos then they would still taste like sprouts :). They are more like large golf balls here but I strip off a lot of leaves to make them weenier

Blogthatmama - hope you enjoy them. Keep basting them

Cont. Troub - There is not a lot of choice in our bit of France. I just grab any old handful.

Lee - you are droll (the French use that word all the time - it's more sophisticated than 'funny' and better than 'amusing'

lady j - I roast the veg AFTER the turkey. The turkey rests on the side (i'm doing it upside down this year - the bird, not me - ) for about an hour and then the veg go in at about 200. Keep basting and the brussels will go soft and squidgy and nicer

French Fancy said...

nikki - chopped up and fried with garlic or ginger in a flavoured oil like walnut or tarragon-scented oil makes them taste very different.

lady jicky said...

Oooh, I am roasting a chicken tonight so will do the bsprouts too.
Will tell you how we (husband and I - he is a control freak and has to stick his nose in )- anyway, how we go!
I am so glad you are not upside down!

Casdok said...

I love boiled sprouts - but roasted ones are even better!!

namaki said...

I do love Brussels sprouts but .... I must admit that after eating them my belly gets bad :-(
The chestnut stuffed turkey reminds me of those Christmas at my grand parents' in Normandy ! She was an excellenty cook ! I'm not (unfortunately)!

French Fancy said...

lady j - I hope Lord J,Rosie and Oscar approve. I can't bear interference when I'm cooking - you're going to have to be more asertive with him. (Just for the record I, myself,have to own up to being a 'back seat cook'. When Mr FF cooks I am banished, totally thrown out of the kitchen.)

Casdok - I don't have the boiled sprout love at all. I can't bear the smell that goes on giving in the kitchen.

namaki - hello there. I love chestnut stuffing - reminds me of being a child watching my mum peel them and throw me every fifth or sixth (cooked) one.

My mum died on Christmas day so it is always with a tinge of sadness that Christmas approaches.

Henry the Dog said...

FFancy - sorry to hear that it must be quite a bitter/sweet time for you.

PS: mum loves chestnut stuffing but they remind her of her dad, 'cause it was the only contribution he ever made to the Christmas Dinner - peeling the chestnuts.

laurie said...

i love sprouts. love 'em. but i'm kind of alone in that passion.

also, i had no idea they were holiday-traditional.

Bill Stankus said...

brussel sprouts? no problem. in fact i like all veges, except one. onions. they are evil.

French Fancy said...

Oh Henry - it is indeed but I try not to let it interfere with other people's enjoyment - which wasn't easy when it was still 'new'. Isn't it funny how we associate food with a person? Chestnuts are sentimental to me as well - just like with your mum

laurie - I think these 'traditional' foods are things devised by marketing people.The Brussel Sprout is Lovely campaign.

Bill - I love onions but I'm fast becoming one of those boring people who can't seem to eat onions or cucumber without spending the evening saying 'oops', 'pardon me' or 'oh gawd, not again'

Jessica said...

Not a big fan of sprouts, but your post has inspired me to give them another try. :) LOL

Carol and Chris said...

Sprouts....bleugh.....

C x

Tabby said...

I ADORE sprouts. and at christmas they are delicious servered with panceata (sp) onions and horse chestnuts.... yum yum yum

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