christmas is that time of year for friends and family, to gather, laugh, spread joy and often indulge in foods completely absent from your stock throughout the rest of the year. it comes alongside the annual family bicker, following a glass of wine too many and grandparents snoring serenely on the sofa – even if the latter is a distant but fond memory held close to your hearts.
for some however, it also means brussels sprouts. this little monster of a cabbage is often feared on the plates of many and if, like me, it is insisted upon you to have at least one on your plate at christmas dinner – then you’ll be only too familiar with plotting various ways in which to avoid eating even that lonesome one huddled between your roast potatoes.
after 29 years I may have come across a way, by no means new, of cooking these - which I could get very much used to. roasting in sweet, sticky maple syrup with aromatic orange & thyme lift these viridescent globes to new levels. their vibrant colour and shape contrast wondrously with the short, stumpy sweet orange of the chantenay carrots and the caramels forged through the process of roasting – add a delightful candied relish.
500 grams of chantenay carrots
250 grams of brussels sprouts
zest & juice of one orange
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
2 heaped teaspoons of fresh thyme (leaves pulled off the stalks)
50g salted butter
salt & pepper to taste (I like to use sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper)
- preheat oven to 180oC
- no prior prepping is required for the carrots. just pop them in a large pan with salted water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until they start to soften. chantenay sizes vary, so if you have the baby ones – these will need around the 5 minute mark and if you have the slightly larger and thicker ones, these will need closer to the 7 minute mark. do not over boil as we don’t want orange mulch.
- in the meantime, top and tail the brussels.
- strain the carrots and return to the saucepan. add the brussels, butter, maple syrup, fresh thyme and lots of cracked black pepper & salt to taste.
- tumble these, now glossed, orange and green jewels into a roasting pan and place in the oven for 30 minutes until and golden.