Gratin of Sprouts!

This recipe is an oldie, but a goodie. It has become a Christmas tradition since I first introduced it to the table about five years ago now.  I even suggested this year that I might make something different with the sprouts and my daughter was horrified so it looks like it’s here to stay!

The original recipe was one found on the BBC and I think it was by Sophie Grigson. It really is a good one and nearly enough to make even the most ardent of sprout-haters have a try. I say nearly, because even though he gave in and tried them, my husband still won’t eat this dish. I could get a bit self-conscious about the fact he refuses my cooking however my daughter and my in-laws wax lyrical about this dish so I am confident that it’s just him being a big wussy wimp!

I’d eat this little bowl of sprout heaven all year round, apart from the fact that I am only allowed to eat them once a year. Seriously. That’s all my husband can take. The smell of sprouts permeating from the kitchen is just for Christmas.

The recipe here serves eight but I usually halve it as it only needs to feed three adults and one child in my house and as it’s just a side dish, there’s plenty to go around!

Gratin of Brussels Sprouts

900g Brussels sprouts, trimmed
20g butter
4tsp sunflower oil
150g cubed pancetta
20g flaked almonds 
400ml double cream
2.5 tsp lemon juice
5.5 tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6.  Place the trimmed sprouts into a saucepan of simmering water and cook for around 4-5minutes until the sprouts are almost cooked. Drain thoroughly and leave to cool slightly before cutting the sprouts in half.
Place the butter and oil into a large frying pan. Over a medium heat, saute the pancetta and almonds for around 4 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Add the halved sprouts and saute for a further 3 minutes, stirring all the time,
Add the cream and bring to the boil. Keep on the boil for around 3 minutes, until the cream has reduced to a rich sauce. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and transfer to an ovenproof dish.  Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle evenly over the top of the sprout mixture.

Place in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and you can see the cream boiling and bubbling. Remove from the oven and serve from the grain dish – taking care not to burn your fingers, that dish will be hot!

There’s nothing left to do but enjoy, and seriously, you will!

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