Sprout revival

I spend a lot of time in the run up to Christmas thinking about food and planning what I can make/eat. I’d say probably only about 30% of my fantasising actually comes into fruition, but it’s good fun going through the motions!

One dish that I did make this festive season when we were invited to eat a traditional pre-Christmas feast with friends, was a sprout gratin. I first made this last year after spotting it in the bible – aka Good Food magazine – and have adapted it slightly to my own style. It’s been a hit every time and I think could convert sprout haters the country over.

Roasted sproutsStarting by halving any big sprouts, I then seasoned and roasted them in a little olive oil for around 20 mins. While they were in the oven, I fried small pieces of bacon on the stove until they were mostly crispy.Fry the bacon

Just about remembering to take the sprouts out of the oven before they welded themselves to the dish and became inedible before I’d even started, I spooned the bacon in with them, leaving the fat in the pan.

Toasted breadcrumbsOne of my northern inspired mottos is waste not want not, so abiding by this rule I’d blitzed some french bread that I had left over to make chunky breadcrumbs. I tipped these into the pan, soaking up the bacon fat for flavour and nicely crisping the breadcrumbs.

Grinding mustard seedsMy sprout make-over was shaping up nicely but in danger of being a bit dry, so the next step in the recipe is to make a white sauce. The Good Food recipe says to add Gruyère and Parmesan, but I had neither of these in and didn’t want to make the dish too cheesy, so instead I chose a different taste.

White sauce with ground mustard seedsIn a pestle and mortar I ground a handful of mustard seeds into a rough powder to release the flavour, then stirred it into a basic white sauce.

Sprinkled with breadcrumbsOver the sprouts and bacon this went before I topped it with an even layer of the breadcrumbs. Then into the oven for around 20 minutes and you have a perfect vegetable accompaniment to a traditional Christmas dinner or just to liven up a Sunday roast. A proper sprout revival!

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