Sprouts are for life not just for Christmas! This superstar of a side dish is fantastic with any roast – give it a try and you will keep coming back for more. So I would advise keeping a good stock of it safely stowed in the freezer for those wintry days when you need a treat.
Makes 6–8 portions
1 large Savoy cabbage, cut into wedges
400g (14oz) Brussels sprouts, quartered
100g (3½oz) smoked lardons or streaky bacon, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
2 tablespoons olive oil
75g (2¾oz) unsalted butter
75g (2¾oz) plain flour
150ml (5fl oz) brandy
600ml (20fl oz) milk
300ml (10fl oz) double cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
60g (2¼oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
60g (2¼oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated
salt and pepper
15g (½oz) flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped, to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (400°F), Gas Mark 6.
- Toss the cabbage and sprouts with the lardons or bacon, garlic, thyme and olive oil on a large baking dish or roasting tin. Spread out, season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes or until just cooked through and starting to caramelize.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, stir in the flour until the mixture forms a roux and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Then gradually add the brandy, whisking constantly, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Next, gradually add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly until it is all incorporated and the sauce is smooth and thick. Then whisk in the cream.
- Remove from the heat and season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the roasted cabbage and sprouts on the baking dish or roasting tin, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
- If eating now, preheat the grill to medium–high (200°C/400°F).
- Place under the hot grill and cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving, garnished with the parsley, if you like.
Portion out the vegetable mixture into freezer-safe and ovenproof containers or dishes. Leave to cool, then put the lids on or wrap tightly in clingfilm or foil, label and date before freezing.
To reheat from frozen
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan (350°F), Gas Mark 4.
Uncover the ovenproof container or dish and place on a baking sheet in the centre of the oven for 40–45 minutes or until golden brown on top and piping hot.
Leave to stand for 3 minutes before serving.