‘Tis the season to be merry?’ As temperatures drop, the knitwear comes knocking and social activity get positively electric, you know it’s that time to submerge yourself in all that is festive and psych yourself up for a carnival of comfort eating.
So, on that note…what speaks Christmas feasting more than the trusty sprout? Very little I assure you! I am more than aware some may be inclined to suggest an affinity with the infamous “love, hate” relations of Marmite. However, it seems a shame to omit them altogether when they can take on many glorified guises. So without further ado, I have devised a versatile yet simple and tasty recipe where our green friend (for most of us anyway!) is the star of the show. Go on, spruce up your sprouts and give it a try.
Here’s to an enchanted and delicious Yuletide!
Brussels Sprout, Chilli and Thyme Chutney
Makes about 750g
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
500g Brussels Sprout, trimmed and washed
1 red onion
3-4 red chillies, deseeded (or if you appreciate kick, leave them in!)
a thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
100ml red wine vinegar
1 lemon, zest and juice
400g golden caster sugar
50ml Certo apple pectin extract (can be omitted if you don’t have to hand)
10 thyme sprigs, leaves only
1. Preheat the oven to 120C, fan 100C, gas 1/2. Wash your jar(s), then place them on a baking tray and heat in the oven for 10 minutes.
2. In a blender, whizz together the chilli, onion, ginger and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the onion, ginger and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and cook the onion mixture for a few minutes. Now add the Brussels sprouts to the blender and whizz until finely chopped. Add this to the same pan, and cook, stirring for a few minutes until they soften.
3. Tip the cooked brussels sprouts into a large heavy based pan, and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the thyme leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cook at a rolling boil for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. After about 10 minutes, add the thyme leaves. If the mixture is looking a bit dry and begins to stick to the base of the pan, add some water in 100ml intervals. (I’d usually add about 300ml water in total).
4. Turn off the heat, then drop a little chutney onto a saucer. Place it in the fridge, wait a couple of minutes and see whether it has begun to set, inwhich case you can start filling your jars. If the jam hasn’t quite set, put the jam to boil again and check for set after another 5 minutes. This will keep well in the fridge for two months. Delicious served with all your Christmas cold meat left-overs!
Sprout fact: they may not be for everyone, but these little veggies take a whopping 295 days (that’s nearly three years) to grow from a seed to harvest. That means they are the first part of the Christmas dinner to be planted. Now you know!