I've probably put a whole bunch of you off this recipe just by starting the title with brussels sprouts, but i figure that as soon as you see the picture you'll work out they are the star of this particular show anyway. The original recipe was titled Lentil-Almond Stirfry, but i thought that was just a little misleading, since the lentils are really just a filler for protein and texture. Not that i have anything against a lentil. I enjoy them, but for me they are NOT the point of this dish. The point is to eat more brussels sprouts! Sprout season is drawing to a close, so i'm currently trying to eat as many of them as i can while they are still around. This dish is a nice change from my other, simpler methods of eating sprouts (steam a big pile of them, put them in a plate and EAT being one of my favourites!)
I once made the mistake of making this dish for some visitors, completely forgetting that not all people share my enthusiasm for things green, roundish and golf-ball sized. One of said visitors was carefully eating his way around the sprouts when i asked if he was "saving the best for last". He apologised and said he'd hated sprouts since childhood. At this point his partner admitted that she didn't like sprouts either, but had been eating them to be polite, "and they are actually quite nice!". At this, visitor 1 'manned up' and tried one, and also admitted to being pleasantly surprised - to the point where he ate all on his plate.
Despite that, i don't recommend serving this dish to children, unless they happen to be exceptionally culinarily adventurous. Brussels sprouts do have a strong, slightly bitter flavour, and childrens' palates are a lot more sensitive than those of adults. If you make kids eat sprouts you may well end up putting them off for life, thus causing them to miss the delicious green goodness of this vegetable into adulthood.
I believe i've mentioned before that i'm not a massive fan of the potato. However i enjoy the potatoes in this dish, as they are well balanced with the other ingredients. The yogurt adds a creamy moisture, and, although you don't HAVE to use purple potatoes, they add a bit of novelty and colour to the dish.
We planted purple potatoes several years ago, and it turns out they are quite "weedy" - some keep coming up every year despite our harvesting them and not getting around to planting more - a very convenient crop! They also seem to migrate to locations they have never (to my knowledge) been planted. If i want purple potatoes i can usually find some, somewhere in the garden. I tell the husband that if the apocalypse comes, we'll survive on purple potatoes.
The recipe comes from Heidi Swanson's '101 Cookbooks' blog. She makes a mint sauce to go with the dish, the recipe for which i have included, despite never having made it myself. I usually add chopped mint to the yoghurt, and get my mint hit that way, but maybe you are vegan, in which case you'll not be using yoghurt. A liquid drizzle of some sort definitely adds to this dish, so i will blindly recommend testing the mint sauce. It does sound rather nice.
BRUSSELS SPROUT, POTATO and LENTIL STIRFRY
From Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks
Mint sauce (optional)
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 serrano chile pepper de-veined and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
a touch of sugar or honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
extra-virgin olive oil
6 - 8 very small new potatoes, cut into halves
2 cups cooked brown lentils
12 brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
14 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt, thinned out with a bit of water and seasoned with a pinch of salt
Start by making the mint sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Give it a few pulses, just enough for the mint to break down a bit. Taste, adjust to your liking (more lemon juice? salt?) and set aside.
Now cook the potatoes along with a generous splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover the skillet and let the potatoes cook through - this will take 5 minutes or so. The water in the potatoes will help to soften them. When the potatoes are just cooked through (not mushy or falling apart) remove the lid and give them a good toss. Turn up the heat to medium-high and stir every minute or so until the potatoes look a bit golden. Stir in the lentils, and cook until heated through. Turn the potatoes and lentils out onto a large plate and set aside.
Now cook the brussels sprouts using the same pan. Heat another splash of olive oilin the skillet over medium heat. Don't overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the sprouts in the pan (single layer), sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cover and cook for a few minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they are tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for another minute or two. Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelised.
Add the lentils and potatoes back to the skillet and add most of the sliced almonds. Turn out onto a large platter and drizzle with some of the yoghurt and mint sauce. Top with the remaining almonds and serve with the rest of the yoghurt and sauce available.
6 to 8