Brussel sprouts seem to be the quintessential holiday vege although it might not be a favourite of everyone. My husband avoids brussel sprouts because he dislikes the bitterness. I hardly eat brussel sprouts (once as a child) so I wasn’t sure what he meant. I bought a box to try it out. Now, I’m not sure whether brussel sprouts are naturally bitter or that they get bitter as they get a bit old. But I gathered that to cut that bitterness, a sweet fruit of some kind would help balance it out and also saltiness from bacon.
It’s hard to get fresh cranberries here so I tried the dried ones. In terms of flavour, I think they didn’t par that far. Maybe I should’ve used some cranberry jelly instead or actual raisins. If you can get fresh cranberries, use them. But to be honest, the bitterness was still there although I won’t say that it’s completely unpleasant. It’s like when you eat bittergourd. That first taste might make you squint but you gradually adapt to it with every bite.
I liked it…I’m not super-thrilled or hyped about it but I would eat it if it’s served before me. I guess like all bitter vegetables, you need to use your imagination on how to cook it but the key is not to completely do away with the bitterness because that is the natural taste. I’m not saying you have to elevate the bitterness either but rather find a balance where the bitterness becomes edible and in harmony with other flavours. For more tips to make brussel sprouts more appealing, click here.
BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRIES RECIPE
Brussel sprouts, tear out the older outer leaves, trim off excess roots but not completely and cut in halves
3 bacon rashers, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Dried cranberries, reconstituted in water for 10 mins (or use fresh cranberries)
1 teaspoon honey
1. Prep the brussel sprouts as instructed, put in a pot to steam until they are just tender to bite. Plunge them into icy water to stop cooking and drain.
2. Fry the bacon rashers till just crisp. Dish them out but leave the grease in the pan. Add your butter, garlic and cranberries. Sautee for 2 mins. Add some of the water from soaking the cranberries and also the honey.
3. Bring back the brussel sprouts and bacon to the pan. Toss everything together for 3 mins. Season with salt and pepper.