Brussel Sprouts with Borlotti Beans and Speck

Brussel Sprouts with Borlotti Beans and Speck

Brussel Sprouts with Borlotti Beans and Speck 

Brussel Sprouts are a much maligned vegetable, often boiled to mush and served with flaccid carrots or grey meat – which is a bit sad, as they are a cheap, vitamin packed veg with lots of flavour, if used wisely.  This recipe is simple and worth trying, if just to experience the humble sprout in a more dignified dish or as a side dish to your next roast.  The only disappointing part of this dish is that the Borlotti beans lose their spectacular colour when cooked, which just proves Mother Nature has a sense of humour.

300 grams Brussel Sprouts
200 grams fresh Borlotti beans
80 grams or a couple of tablespoons of smoked bacon, speck or baked ham
1 small Spanish onion, cut into thin slices
¼ teaspoon mace
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Generous pinch each of cumin, ground fennel seeds and brown sugar
Zest and juice of a lemon
Few sprigs of parsley, rosemary and thyme
2 tablespoons white wine
1 table spoon butter or olive oil

In a small pan, heat the butter until foaming then add the spices, sugar, and onion.  Cook until translucent, then add the bacon, borlotti beans and rosemary and cook until softened but not mushy.
Remove from the pan and set aside.

Slice the sprouts in half, add to the pan with the juice of a lemon and the white wine, thyme and parsley.  Cover and allow to steam for about 5 minutes – sprouts should be just tender, definitely not mushy and still bright green.

Remove the lid, increase the heat, add the reserved beans and bacon mix, folding them through well.
Cook uncovered for about another 2 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated and the sprouts just start to get a little colour on the edges, but still have a little bite in the middle.
Add the lemon zest and serve immediately with a good grind of fresh black pepper.
Is also great cold, with a fresh squeeze of lemon – fabulous with roast pork!

Note - as an aside, I made this dish for about the cost of a cup of coffee, that's how cheap it is!!!