It’s a marmite vegetable – you either love them or hate them. But these recipes from Great British Chefs use them delicately with rich game meat and as part of side dishes so even the most fierce haters can’t complain
Poached duck with Brussels sprouts, apple and buckwheat
2 duck breasts, plump
200ml of soy sauce
100ml of red wine
2 tbsp of honey
400ml of brown chicken stock, reduced to 200ml
Brussels sprout purée
400g of Brussels sprouts
50g of butter
200ml of white chicken stock
100g of spinach, washed
20ml of white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
50ml of rapeseed oil
1 Granny Smith apple
100g of caster sugar
70ml of water
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
20g of buckwheat, puffed
20g of caster sugar
1 handful of baby watercress, or chickweed
To start the dish, tightly seal each duck breasts in individual bags. Place into a water bath at 60°C for 40 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Once the duck has cooled to room temperature, remove from the bag and gently remove the skin from the breast (being careful not to tear the flesh) and set aside.
Cut the breast in half lengthways down the centre, wrap tightly in cling film and store in the fridge until required. Preheat the oven to 160˚C/gas mark 2. Place the skin on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cover with another piece of the same size. Weigh down with another baking sheet, press down and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove and drain on kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat until cool. Once cool, chop the skin – it should be crispy and easy to chop into small pieces – and keep in an airtight container until required. For the glaze, combine the soy, honey and red wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and reduce to a glaze – similar in consistency to honey. Whisk in the chicken stock to thin out slightly and set aside at room temperature until required.
For the Brussels sprout purée, use a knife to remove a small part of the base of each sprout. Remove and reserve 2-3 of the nice, large outer leaves of each sprout. Place the leaves in boiling salted water for 20 seconds, then strain and refresh in iced water.
Finely slice the remainder of the sprouts. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a high heat and add the sliced sprouts. Season with a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the spinach. Transfer into a blender and, starting on a low speed, blitz for 20 seconds before increasing the speed to achieve a smooth, thick, spreadable purée.
Season the purée to taste, cover with a sheet of cling film so that it is in direct contact with the surface of the purée and refrigerate until required. To make a basic dressing for the sprout leaves, whisk together the vinegar, Dijon and rapeseed oil in a bowl and set aside.
For the apple, mix the sugar with 20ml of the water and thyme and bring to a golden brown caramel. Bring the remaining 50ml of water to the boil in a separate pan and then whisk into the caramel. Peel and core the apple, cut into quarters and then cut into small, evenly sized wedges. Once the caramel has cooled, spoon into vacuum pack bags with the apple slices and thyme and seal tightly to compress the apple. Leave for approximately 2 hours in the fridge.
Combine the puffed buckwheat and sugar in a pan. Place over a medium heat and, while stirring, slowly caramelise and candy the buckwheat. Pour onto a tray and allow to cool. Once cool and set, break up into small pieces. Before serving, remove the duck from the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature. Brush with the glaze and sprinkle with a light coating of the duck crackling. Gently warm the sprout purée to a lukewarm temperature and spread onto the centre of each plate.
Place the duck on top and add 3 slices of the apple and some of the lightly dressed sprout leaves. Garnish with a few pieces of the buckwheat and some watercress or chickweed. Lightly season with sea salt and serve immediately.
Winter greens with walnut butter
This greens with walnut butter recipe makes the perfect Christmas side – the walnut butter can be made in advance, and simply tossed with the blanched greens for a quick and easy dish.
200g of curly kale, washed and stalks removed
2 leeks, washed and cut into 2cm thick slices
200g of tenderstem broccoli, washed and ends trimmed
200g of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
100g of walnut halves
100g of butter
If you have time, make the butter 24-72 hours in advance. Soften the butter to room temperature, beat with a spoon to give a whipped effect and set aside.
Roughly chop the walnuts then toast in a hot, dry pan until roasted and aromatic. Remove from the pan, allow to cool and stir through the butter.
Food and drink new
Arrange the soft walnut butter on a large sheet of cling film in a long log shape. Wrap and roll into a sausage shape approximately 4cm in thickness, tie off the ends of the cling film and allow to set in the fridge until required.
If making the butter on the day, roughly chop the walnuts and toast in a hot, dry pan until roasted and aromatic. Add the butter to warm through, then remove from the heat.
Bring a 2 litre pan of water to the boil with a good pinch of salt. Add all of the prepped greens to the pan, cook for 4-5 minutes then strain and return to the pan with the toasted walnut butter. Toss until all of the greens are evenly coated in the butter and serve in warm dishes.
Alternatively, toss the hot greens in a little knob of the pre-prepared butter and serve with another slice of the butter.
Turkey bubble and squeak
A leftover Sunday roast or Christmas dinner gets a fabulous make-over in this bubble and squeak recipe. Cooked turkey mingles with brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes for a brilliant breakfast, savoury starter or tasty snack.
Turkey and sprout cakes
200g of cooked turkey breast, shredded
200g of mashed potatoes
50g of brussels sprouts, cooked
1 egg yolk
10g of butter
salt, to season
Prepare the ingredients by chopping up the cooked sprouts and mixing them with the shredded turkey and mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add the egg yolk and salt and shape the mixture into 10cm patties. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
In a pan set over medium heat, add a small amount of vegetable oil and fry, colouring on one side then turning to colour the other. Add 10g of butter to the pan to finish the browning process and add a butter finish to the final flavour.
Once the patties have been cooked on the pan, place them on the prepared tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until browned and cooked thoroughly. Remove from the oven and serve hot with cranberry sauce or your favourite chutney.
Sous vide brussels sprouts and sprout tops with miso butter and cashews
This inventive sous vide brussels sprouts recipe is cooked with an umami miso butter to season and add richness to this classic Christmas side dish. Crunchy cashews add a touch of texture to finish.
Brussels sprouts and sprout tops with miso butter
16 brussels sprouts
50g of unsalted butter
20g of miso paste
1kg sprout tops, hard stalks removed
2 bay leaves
cashew nuts, chopped
1 tbsp of tarragon leaves, chopped
Preheat a waterbath to 70°C. Clean and half the sprouts and set aside. Soften the butter and whisk in the miso paste until completely combined. Transfer the sprouts, bay leaves and half of the miso butter to a large vacuum bag and seal.
Cook the sprouts in the waterbath for 45 minutes. Add the sprout tops to another large bag with the remaining miso butter, seal and cook at the same temperature for 20 minutes. To serve, place the sprouts and sprout tops on a large serving dish and drizzle with the cooking juices from the bags. Garnish with chopped cashews and tarragon.