Friday, February 1, 2013

Spruitjes

 
"Spruitjes? Vies!" ("Brussels sprouts? Gross!") is Dutch for what most children would say if they heard that Brussels sprouts were on the menu. Quite often, when asked what the evening dish entails, the Dutch will answer by simply stating the vegetable. It is generally understood that boiled or mashed potatoes are part of the deal and traditionally, a certain type of meat is expected to go with a particular dish. So by learning what vegetable will be served, the whole menu will usually be crystal clear. Tonight's dinner therefore consists of spruitjes, boiled potatoes and fresh sausage, or braadworst.

But back to the spruitjes. Possibly a child's least favorite vegetable because of the bitterness (and the similarity to rock hard green marbles?), spruitjes however are a staple on the Dutch table. Whether simply boiled, or mashed into a stamppot, they are often found on the menu during the winter months. Brussels sprouts, just like other cabbages, will often benefit from a bit of frost, where the starches will convert to sweet sugars.

Nowadays, however, Brussels sprouts have been modified to taste less bitter. Although the flavor has changed, the nutritional value of these little green globes has remained: a very valuable source of vitamin B and C. Just what you need in the winter!

Spruitjes can be steamed, boiled or stir-fried.

Spruitjes
1 lb Brussels sprouts
6 large potatoes
4 fresh sausages
2 tablespoons butter
Salt
Nutmeg

Clean the sprouts by cutting off the bottom and removing outer leaves, if damaged or heavily soiled. Peel the potatoes, cut in half and bring them to a boil. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil, add the sprouts, add some salt and boil on low for ten minutes. Drain, melt one tablespoon of butter in a skillet and slowly braise the vegetables, covered, until they're done. In the meantime, melt the rest of the butter in a skillet, fry the sausages until brown on each side, then add half a cup of water, cover and simmer. Drain the potatoes.

Serve the potatoes with the sausage and the sprouts. Put a pinch of nutmeg on the sprouts and pour a tablespoon of pan gravy over the potatoes, in case you wish to prak them.

 

7 comments:

  1. If they are still to bitter for you... My mom would cut an x into the bottoms and soak them in milk for a couple hours before cooking them. I loved em as a kid and still do! :)

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    1. Great idea, Saskia! The spruitjes are a lot less bitter than when we ate them, but soaking can't hurt. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. I just started eating them more after reading how high they are in the vitamins etc. I am roasting halved brussel sprouts and asperagus for 25 min in a 400 degree over...drizzle with olive oil and a bit of kosher salt, pop in the over ...and they are delicious! maryanne

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  3. Love your site!

    One of my favorite condiments to use with it is kecap manis (I even use it if they aren't bitter). I slightly crush the spruitjes before drizzling a small amount of the sweet soy sauce over it. I know it sounds like a total weird flavour combo but with the soy mixing into the gravy as well it makes it taste absolutely gorgeous.

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  4. Love this site!

    Spruitjes are less bitter when you steam them instead of cooking. Then fry a chopped onion and some bacon, ad a bit of syrup and kecap manis in a frying pan. Add the sprouts and stir fry them until the flavours are mixed in. No child will say 'vies' to them :)

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  6. Hoi Nicole,
    The trick is to buy the small size sprouts as they are much sweeter instead of bitter.

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