Making a meal of delicious sprouts

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We all have memories of bland, tasteless boiled sprouts that have been cooked for almost as long as the turkey.

But cooked properly, there’s no reason sprouts can’t start competing with roast potatoes, which 95 per cent in a recent study said were their favourite part of Christmas dinner.

Yotam Ottolenghi suggests roasting Brussels sprouts, too. This way, he says, they stay whole, lose none of their flavour , and are delicious. “Just a little olive oil, salt and pepper, in the oven on 180C for around 25 minutes,” he instructs.

Steaming Brussels is another thing to try. After around eight minutes, so they’ve still got a bit of bite, toss them in a frying pan with butter, some parsley, a little water and some seasoning, and perhaps even a lick of single cream.

Here’s another recipe from BBC Good Food magazine that might win a more converts.

smashed sprouts mash with chestnuts

(Serves 6)

600g Brussels sprouts, halved

50g butter

100ml double cream

Half a nutmeg, grated

Salt and pepper

200g pack vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped

Put the sprouts in a large pan, cover with boiling water and cook for eight to 10 minutes or until very tender.

Drain and leave to steam-dry. Tip back into a saucepan and mash to a chunky texture with a potato masher. Don’t overdo it, they should be smashed, not mashed.

Add the butter, cream and nutmeg, and season well.

Cook for a further two minutes. Mix in half the chestnuts, then sprinkle over the remaining chestnuts to serve. You could also dice some streaky bacon and fry until crisp, before removing from the pan and draining. Return the bacon to the pan with the cream and nutmeg.