Tag Archives: sprouts

Five favourite recipes for brilliant brussels

Convert any sprout sceptic with these bold and brilliant recipes for brussels. Simple and quick to make, these dishes are great served as a side, or even to eat on their own by avid sprout lovers!

We’ve got five of our tried and tested recipes and a handy video to help you get the perfect brussels sprouts every time!

Brussels sprouts video thumbnail


Brussels sprouts with brown butter and almonds

Rich, sweet and indulgent. This way of preparing the little green veg gives it an extra crunch and texture with the addition of flaked almonds.

roasted brussels with sage & chestnut butter


Sprouts with chestnuts and bacon

A more traditional way of serving brussels, this dish is just the thing to serve up on Christmas day. The warm chestnut and bacon flavours are great for tempting sprout haters.

Roasted brussels sprouts and caramelised onions

This recipe is a simple way of using up any left over sprouts and is great served with the last of the turkey and plenty of gravy. Once roasted the caramelised onions will work wonders bringing out the natural sweetness of the sprouts.

brussels sprout, red onion & blue cheese gratin


Brussels sprouts with horseradish

Give your sprouts a bit of oomph with this fiery dish that’s not for the fainthearted. Add as much horseradish as you dare!

Brussels sprouts with bacon and almonds

This recipe is pure comfort food. Sweet, salty, warm, rich and with a bit of bite. Try with mash potato for an easy and filling lunch dish.


guy’s newsletter : a sprout crisis & a mistletoe gift

Brussels sprouts are among the most challenging crops to grow organically; they require a rich soil, a long growing season and are highly prone to fungal disease and, to a lesser extent, aphids and slugs. To spread the risk and prevent letting you down on the big day, we have split the crop between our farm in Yorkshire and organic growers in Lancashire and East Anglia. Here the colder, drier weather reduces the risk of fungal disease, which we felt was a better idea than expecting you to peel spotty Devon sprouts for Christmas. At the end of October it seemed like a smart plan but an incredible nine inches of November rain leached away most of the nitrogen below the rooting zone of the soil, bringing growth to an abrupt stop; it now looks like we will have a very small crop of very small sprouts. With a bit of work we still reckon we can find enough for the Christmas week vegboxes though, so no cause for panic.

We have finally had a proper frost which will improve the flavour of our parsnips and might slow the rampant growth of leeks, cabbage and kales, all of which are two to four weeks ahead of schedule. Some of you will get pain de sucre (also known as sugar loaf chicory) from our French farm over the next few weeks; looking a bit like a pale pointed cabbage but related to and tasting like a mild radicchio, they can be eaten in salads or cooked as you might endive.

When not cutting pain de sucre or pak choi from our tunnels, our team in France have been busy harvesting mistletoe from the hedges on our neighbours’ farms. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on a range of hosts, but particularly favours poplar and is very common in France. If left unchecked it can kill the tree so over the next couple of weeks we will be trimming the huge balls into sprigs which, all being well, will be in your boxes as a Christmas present the week commencing 8th December. Just in case anyone thinks this is my latest culinary craze, I better assert that mistletoe is poisonous and that this gift is intended to encourage revelry rather the culinary experimentation.

Guy Watson

Digging & sowing

It’s bright, dry and frosty and we are busy digging parsnips for Christmas, lifting carrots, sowing broad beans and picking sprouts. The weather is due to break again at the weekend but I am hoping that by the time you read this, the last of the carrots will be in store; hurrah.

It is still too wet to lift the last of the potatoes; they are stuck in heavier ground and will probably be there until spring. Conventional (non-organic) growers often lose their crop to slugs but one of the benefits of organic growing is that in our more active soils, there are plenty of natural predators and parasites which keep slugs under control. In soils which have been organic for five years or more it is relatively rare to see slug holes in potatoes. We have enough spuds in store to see us through to spring. We are grading through some King Edwards ready for your Christmas boxes. They are the very best potatoes for roasting but are generally viewed as almost impossible to grow organically, so a big well done to Andy Hayllor for managing it in such a difficult year.

We ploughed for the broad beans yesterday, worked a very rough seedbed and sowed while the surface was frosted in the morning, allowing the seed drill to work without getting clogged. Not an ideal start, but broad beans are tough and we have managed before. The field is covered with a net to keep hungry rooks at bay and all being well these will be the first beans in your boxes in June. We are also gearing ourselves up for the big sprout pick. A few are grown by our co-op in Devon, but they are easier in manage in the colder, drier East where they suffer less from the fungal diseases that make them such a hard crop to grow organically. Most are handpicked; a back breaking and finger numbing job. Some will be in the boxes on stalks if the quality is good enough.

Finally, Merry Christmas from us all at Riverford and a big thank you, particularly from our growers, for supporting us through the deluge. May your feasting be sumptuous, your company agreeable and your resting restorative. Here’s to a drier 2013.

Guy Watson