The Unwanted Vegetables
We all know what it's like to be or feel unwanted (and if you don't, frankly I don't want to talk to you). Being the last to be picked for teams in sport, being the only single one at a table full of couples or realising your number of facebook friends is decreasing, we all have our emotional bagage to carry.
No, don't you worry, this is not a cry for love, just a way to introduce you to the vegetables of the day, who are not "in" with the popular crowd (aka tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce and onion), those would be more seated at the "geek table".
It is surprising to me, that brussel sprouts have such a bad reputation, first of all because they are very cute! It feels like you are 8 years old again, playing the shop keeper with tiny plastic vegetables. Plus I don't have a childhood trauma with them, I actually remember that I always liked them. I know that cabbage in general has a strong taste when you cook it in water, but just add a slice of bread in it and it will improve greatly.
Now for the Jerusalem artichoke (or topinambour as we call it here), this is the first time I've bought some. It is one of those "old" vegetables that they are trying to bring back in the spotlight. From what I know, it has it's bad reputation from the second world war, those and rutabaga where one of the few vegetables available at the time. I guess not only did people get fed up with them, but also linked them to those difficult times, so once there was more variety to choose from, they got left aside.
Let's bring them back on the table, they both deserve it!
Jerusalem Artichoke Purée and Brussel Sprouts with Chesnuts, Bacon and Parsley (adapted from Nigella "Feast")
400 of Jerusalem Artichoke
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Chive, chopped
1 Mug of Brussel Sprouts (about 12)
1/2 a Mug of Bacon
1 Mug of Chesnut
1 Tablespoon of Porto Wine
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Parsley
Let's start with the purée. Clean and peel the jerusalem artichoke and cut them into cubes. In a pan, on a low heat, give in the butter and the artichoke, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 25 minutes. Stir every now and then. Once it's cooked, using a fork or a potato masher, making it into a purée. Season with salt and pepper, and before serving add the freshly chopped chive.
Clean the sprouts and cut about 3-4 millimeter of the bottom of each, and cut a cross into it aswell (that's how Nigella does it, so I'm doing it too).
Heat up a pan with salted water, when it's boiling, cook the sprouts for about 5 minutes, a little more if they are bigger. If the smell bothers you, place a slice of bread in the water. When cooked, drain them and set aside.
In a pan with a bit of olive oil, cook the bacon until it has a nice golden color. Add the butter at this point with the chesnuts, and with a wooden spoon break them down a little bit. When everything is warm, turn the heat up a little and add the porto wine, it needs to bubble away.
Now turn the heat down again and add the sprout with the parsley. Stir to combine the flavours and check for seasoning, pepper should be needed, but maybe no salt, considering the bacon is already salty.
Serve both the purée and the brussel sprouts in a hot plate, you can springle them with some more fresh chive on the purée, and a bit more parsley on the sprouts.