Poor old Brussels sprouts, they get such a negative reputation this time of the year. Always a compulsory side dish for the big Christmas dinner yet ridiculed for being the food that nobody really tucks into and instead stuffed inside a Tupperware box on the off chance someone is to make a Bubble & Squeak on Boxing Day. While sprouts are not particularly a vegetable that I would go out of my way for, I actually don’t mind them. But what I can’t stand is how we all feel a Christmas dinner isn’t right unless we have them but then a lot of us don’t actually eat them. And why? Because we simply boil them. Boil them until they are soft, plain bits of bitter cabbage. Boiled and boiled in water until they are falling apart. Boiled until they lose any flavour that they started off with. And boiled so much that the smell lingers in the kitchen for days. I am sorry, but why are we boiling sprouts for such a special dinner when most of us clearly don’t like them? Because it’s tradition, just like many of us would never admit that having a turkey is actually dry… and that we might prefer a nice bit of beef or some duck … we also can’t steer ourselves away from the endless boiling of sprouts on Christmas Day!
This is the reason why I am a big fan of sprucing up the side dishes at Christmas such as Caramelised Onion, Parmesan and Walnut Roasted Sprouts, Cranberry and Orange Pork Stuffing or some homemade Cranberry Sauce seasoned with plenty of cinnamon. So much time and effort goes into preparing for this dinner that it seems a shame to think of it as simply a load of turkey (hardly the most luxurious of meats) with some boiled sprouts. It is a time to create more flavours on a plate, take us away from a gravy filled dish and add a little more texture and a few new ingredients while still keeping things simple.
These Honey and Hazelnut Roasted Brussels Sprouts are so easy to make. You can roast them ahead and quickly warm them up in the oven while your turkey is resting. I like to roast sprouts as they keep a bit more of their shape and have a lovely nutty flavour that hasn’t been boiled away. The honey adds a beautiful sweetness that doesn’t get over powered by the bitterness of the sprouts. And I love the hazelnuts for that delicious bit of added crunch.
- 1kg brussels sprouts (trimmed)
- 100g whole hazelnuts (half crushed and half roughly chopped)
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- Olive oil
- Salt/ pepper
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
- Add the sprouts to a roasting tin. Add the honey and hazelnuts and mix everything together so the sprouts are coated.
- Drizzle in a little olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Put in the oven and roast for around 25/ 30 mins. Giving them a shake halfway through.