How to make the ultimate Brussels sprouts

  • By
    Roxanne Fisher - Health editor - bbcgoodfood.com

Our Good Food experts and Facebook and Twitter fans have some top tips for making your sprouts spectacular this Christmas...

Colander of sprouts

Love them or hate them, Brussels sprouts are a traditional part of Christmas lunch. Our cookery team and fans on social media have shared their tips and secrets for making the perfect sprouts.

What our experts say: 

Roasted sprouts with chestnuts and baconRoast for a fuller flavour

Assistant food editor, Cassie Best, will be roasting her sprouts this year. ''Roasted sprouts are all the rage in America. Try roasting them in a little oil with some crumbled chestnuts, snipped rashers of streaky bacon and a few sage leaves. The flavour is really intensified by roasting and you won't loose any of the nutrients in the cooking water.''

Winning combinations

Self-confessed sprouts fan, food editor Sarah Cook, shares three of her favourite flavour combinations to suit every palate...

ShallotsTraditional tastes:
''Chestnuts, sage and shallots - either fry your ingredients in a knob of butter, then stir through your boiled sprouts or turn them into a flavoured butter and blob onto the cooked veg.''

Classic with a twist:
''Try simple bread sauce flavours - soften onions with ground mace and nutmeg in butter, fry some breadcrumbs then toss through your sprouts''

Something different:
''Combine your sprouts with toasted pine nuts and sultanas, caramelised red onions, sherry or balsamic vinegar and add some honey for a Sicilian-style serving.''


Myth buster

Food editor, Barney Desmazery, sets the record straight on the infamous old wives' tale: ''Putting a cross in the bottom of your sprouts is time consuming and actually completely unnecessary as it makes no difference to the finished dish.''

Sprouts being prepared
Fresh is best

Assistant food editor, Cassie Best suggests: ''Look out for sprouts still on the stem in farmers markets or at your local farm shop, they'll stay fresher for much longer


One for the haters

bbcgoodfood.com's food editor, Caroline Hire, recommends a method that even sprout dodgers will be able to swallow: ''I like to shred my sprouts and pan-fry them with a little garlic and pancetta. They taste great and are far more palatable for those who aren't quite convinced by the boiled variety.''

What our Facebook and Twitter fans say:

Smashed sprouts with chestnuts@TasteDorchester: Finely slice and stir-fry with garlic, mushroom and bacon and add a little dash of soy for extra seasoning.

Caroline Billinghurst: Try braised in Dijon mustard with a bit of cream and a dash of wine - perfect.

Debbie Sycamore: Grow your own! Pick fresh and eat straight away - they cook in five minutes and are utterly delicious!

Linda Eyre: With the ends trimmed off, I roasted them at 200 degrees in a bit of olive oil and kosher salt and pepper for 30-35 minutes until the outsides were dark brown and crispy. My kids loved the crispy leaves and thought they tasted like crisps, and the insides was perfectly soft. They were a hit at our Thanksgiving table this year.

Take a look at our favourite Christmas sprout recipes for more inspiration and let us know your top tips below.

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