Thursday, 25 December 2014

Creamy Brussels Sprout Soup

Here is a recipe using brussels sprouts which I believe even vociferous objectors might find palatable. Personally, I love sprouts and look forward to eating them each year when they are in season… but I am the only one in my household who will eat them and despite the fact that my gang detest them, I still insist on serving them for Christmas dinner.

In my opinion, the problem that most people have with sprouts is the fact that the only way that they have ever eaten them is when they are overcooked and unpleasantly slimy. Sprouts that are just cooked and still retain a little bit of bite are quite different and incredibly tasty, possessing a subtle sweetness that I just adore. This sweetness translates very well to this soup and is enhanced by the addition of some sweated onions.
 
Because this is a subtle soup, I recommend using a light chicken or vegetable stock. For an added layer of flavour, I have also suggested using a little caraway and a good grating of fresh nutmeg. These are both underused spices in my opinion, and caraway in particular gives an extra layer of flavour that complements the sprouts perfectly. Nutmeg is often used in sweet dishes and in particular milk-based puddings, but it can also be used in many savoury dishes too. I always include it when making cheese, milk or cream sauces. It also goes very well with iron-rich green vegetables such as spinach and I think it works a treat here.
 
Some people recommend cutting a small cross in the bottom when boiling or steaming sprouts, but to be honest, I don’t think that this is absolutely necessary and they cook perfectly fine without it.
 
This is a delicious soup, is incredibly easy to make and is something a little different to serve at Christmas or in the days after when you may have a few leftover vegetables.
 
Garnish simply with a few sliced cooked sprouts or merely some single leaves; - this is a very pretty and elegant looking soup.

Ingredients:

900g brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
25g butter
A small sprig of thyme
½ tsp caraway seeds
50ml dry white wine
600ml light chicken or vegetable stock
250ml single cream
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
To serve: (optional)
Some sliced cooked brussels sprouts
A few chopped chives
 

Method:

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a moderate heat and add the chopped onion. Sweat until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes) but do not allow to colour. Add the thyme and caraway seeds and allow to cook for a further minute.
2. Add the wine and let reduce a little and then add the brussels sprouts and stock. Let simmer gently for 10 minutes until the sprouts are tender. Remove the sprig of thyme and then liquidise in a blender or food processor until smooth. For a silky smooth soup, pass through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Add the cream and heat gently until hot.
3. Serve garnished with some thinly sliced cooked Brussels spots and a sprinkling of finely chopped chives.

Serves 6.