Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts & Sucuk – How We Learned To Love Our Seasonal Nemesis

As you’re no doubt aware (if you read this blog a lot) we’re all for promoting our local Fethiye markets, particularly the Fethiye Friday market. The Friday market, in contrast to the Tuesday Market, is more of a villagers’ market that sells seasonal produce – and you’re never quite sure what’s going to be on offer from one week to the next. The joy of eating seasonally…

However, just because we’re passionate about the availability of seasonal produce, that doesn’t mean we have to like all of it. But we do make an effort, and, occasionally, we do arrive home with what, for us, has been more ‘challenging’ produce. Broccoli and cauliflower used to be amongst the produce filed under “challenging” but they now make a regular appearance on our winter vegetable rack. Well done us!

But where seasonal vegetables are concerned, there was one hurdle as yet unconquered. We think it’s safe to say that in many people’s psyche – not just ours – Brussels sprouts (Brüksel Lahanası) are the final frontier in the world of learning-to-love-your-vegetables.

But now, all that has changed, too and we’ve realised that, Yes, You CAN Enjoy Brussels Sprouts…Possibly.

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts – not for everyone

Brussels Sprouts, Not Brussel Sprouts

Yeah, first of all, every Christmas when these dreaded little green leafy balls made an appearance in our house when I was a kid, it was a case of, “Eat your brussel sprouts.” Hmm, well mooching around the internet doing little bits of research, ‘brussel sprouts’ got the squiggly red line underneath. It appears ‘brussel sprouts’ is a very common misspelling. Sprouts hail from Brussels, therefore, they are Brussels Sprouts.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts – A La Turka

Anyway, now we’ve got that bit sorted, back to Fethiye and the winter vegetable that is Brussels sprouts. Because, imagine our surprise when we moved to the sunny Mediterranean Turkish town of Fethiye and we discovered that the dreaded Brussels sprout was there on market stalls to haunt us throughout the month of December. Every child’s – and quite a few adults’ – Christmas dinner nightmare! Because that’s all they were for us; balls of bitter greenery on the side of the plate that were never going to be eaten in a million years, but they were there because it was part of the Christmas dinner. Why did they have to be there? Who said?

And so, on moving to Fethiye, the realisation eventually sunk in that Brussels sprouts weren’t a specially-invented British Christmas nemesis. No, they really are a seasonal vegetable that people actually eat, lots of people enjoy them, too…and they’re for sale in Turkey! So, the time came to conquer Brussels sprouts (or Brüksel lahanası as they’re called, here) and we did that in classic winter recipe fashion: Sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts…with a Turkish twist.

Let’s make sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and add a bit of meaty Turkish flavour, too.

Turkish Food - Brüksel LahanasıOr Brussels Sprouts

Classic Turkish ingredients that work really well together

Perhaps the most traditional meaty ingredient that is often added to sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts is bacon or pancetta. However, we want our recipe to have a more Turkish flavour so we’re using sucuk; that famous Turkish sausage similar in flavour to pepperoni. In winter, we can go to the one market and buy our sprouts, chestnuts and our sucuk – it just makes this dish more local as well as seasonal.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts And Sucuk
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Turkish
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts is a dish often served with pork such as bacon or pancetta. Our recipe has been given a more Turkish flavour by using sucuk (similar to pepperoni). This dish can be eaten as a main meal or as a side to other meals.
Ingredients
  • ½ kilo Brussels sprouts, washed and loose leaves removed
  • ½ kilo chestnuts, shells scored with a cross
  • 250 g sucuk, skin removed and sucuk chopped into small cubes
  • 2 fresh chillies finely chopped
  • Glug of olive oil (roughly 1 dessert spoonful)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, plunge your Brussels sprouts into boiling water and blanch them for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, drain and leave to one side.
  3. Meanwhile, dry fry your chestnuts for 15 minutes or dry roast them in a hot oven (200C) for around 20 minutes.
  4. Allow your chestnuts to cool and then peel them (the shell will have loosened where you scored them).
  5. Cut your larger chestnuts and sprouts in half.
  6. Gently heat your olive oil in a frying pan and add the chilli peppers.
  7. Sautee for a couple of minutes before adding your Brussels sprouts.
  8. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and give them a stir to coat them with the oil and chilli.
  9. Now leave them to sautee for 4-5 minutes. Don't stir them because you want your sprouts to start browning here and there.
  10. Next, add your chestnuts and stir hem around so that they get a good coating of oil and chilli, too.
  11. Saute for a further 5 minutes. Again, don't worry about constant stirring. A bit of browning adds to the dish.
  12. Now check your sauteed Brussels sprouts have softened to your liking. Green and firm is better than mustard yellow mush.
  13. Add your chopped sucuk to the pan and stir around for roughly 5 minutes. Your sucuk will release its super tasty oils and spices and coat your sauteed Brussels sprouts and chestnuts.
  14. Serve hot either as a main meal or as an accompaniment to other dishes.
Notes
Please note: Calories per serving are a general guide. The type of oil and type of sucuk you use will affect the calories.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 480

The key to this dish is not to let your Brussels sprouts go too soft or mushy. Sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and sucuk is quite a colourful dish and it looks so much more inviting when the sprouts are still holding firm and retaining their green vibrancy. For even more colour, you can use red chilli peppers, too. Of course, you can skip the chillies altogether if you’re not a fan of heat in your dishes.

Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts And Sucuk

Retain the fresh green colour of your Brussels sprouts

So there we have it. Sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and spicy Turkish sucuk. This was the dish that conquered our dread of this little winter vegetable, so much so that we actually look forward to Decembers when Brussels sprouts make their appearance on the markets.

Sucuk & Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts

And the addition of sucuk to sauteed Brussels sprouts and chestnuts…perfect

Brussels sprouts enjoy certain weather conditions that don’t always prevail in Fethiye so some seasons are more abundant than others when it comes to the purchase of this vegetable. That means, when we do see them on market stalls, we make sure to buy some lest we don’t see them again the following week. And we don’t always do sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and sucuk. We also enjoy doing roasted Brussels sprouts…great on toast with yoghurt.

Which side of the fence do you fall on when it comes to Brussels sprouts? Love or loathe? Is there a particular dish that converted you in the same way that sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts converted us?

(You can find our recipe for sauteed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts & sucuk recipe in the Meat & Seafood category of our photographic list of Turkish recipes.)

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Comments

  1. I must admit to not loving brussel sprouts in the not too distant past but one Thanksgiving my daughter made a dish that changed my mind.

  2. After living in Southern California for a few years I learned to love almost all the veggies. The easiest way to cook brussel sprouts is simply to coat them in olive oil, spread on a sheet, add a little salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven for 40 minutes or so. They caramelize a little bit and the bitter cabbage taste goes away – even kids eat them like candy!

  3. Fry them with potatoes, then put a poached egg on top – pure heaven for breakfast with crusty bread and butter

  4. i love brussel sprouts! i roast them with S&P and a bit of olive oil! we can’t seem to get enough of them! merry christmas!!!

  5. http://Anonymous says

    Just boil them for 30 minutes or so till soft (and sweet tasting) in water with a bit of salt, serve hot with butter/mustard and pepper/muscat nut spread over it. Goes well with any meat and with lamb in particular. That’s the way thousands on the European continent enjoy this delicate vegetable every day.

  6. @ Bellini: Yes, our brussel sprout days are quite recent, too, and it was a dish similar to this one that changed our minds. This is the Turkish version. 🙂

    @ Sarah Thomas: Will try them that way next time we have some.

  7. @ Collin Hart: Sounds very similar to our bubble and squeak, except ours is with red cabbage, too.

    @ Jaz: Sounds like a popular way to your Brussel sprouts. Must try them done like that. 🙂

  8. @ Anonymous: My nan used to cook them like that with butter over. The mustard butter sounds interesting though. Will give it a try. 🙂

  9. What do you mean??? I absolutely LOVE ’em!!! The day that they arrived in the pazars here in Istanbul not so many years ago made me soooo happy!!!!

  10. @Claudia Turgut: Lol. All the old Brussel sprouts dislikers are yet to come out of the woodwork. We know they’re in there. Happy so many people like them though. 🙂

  11. How we used to complain when there were no brussels sprouts to be had in Turkey – now there are loads, broccoli too – but no end of complaining has made parsnips and rhubarb appear. I live in hope.

    • Ha ha, I know. Heard lots of people say you never used to be able to get Brussels sprouts. Completely with you on the rhubarb and parsnips. Actually tried to grow some rhubarb once but it died. 🙂

  12. I know most British people have a traumatic relationship with brussels sprouts, but I really like them. Especially, mashed with almonds and raw in salads. I might also try this recipe, if it wasn’t for the chestnut that are a not yet acquired taste to me.

    • Ahh, we love chestnuts with our sauteed Brussels sprouts, Mette. Maybe you can try them without. Interested to try them with almonds, too. 🙂

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