These luxurious creamed kalettes are the perfect side dish for your Christmas dinner or Sunday roast - made with a Brussels sprout + kale hybrid!
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Have you ever tried kalettes? Or even heard of them?! They're a hybrid of Brussels sprouts and kale, and they're fab - little frilly sprouts that can be used in all sorts of ways. Since it's the time of year when everything is topped with a healthy splash of cream, here are my creamed kalettes, with mushrooms and caramelised onions.
What are kalettes?
Kalettes are a fairly new vegetable, created by cross-breeding kale and Brussels sprouts. The end result, as you might expect, is a mixture of the two vegetables.
Kalettes have been available in the UK since 2010, but only for a few months each year - they're available from now until the end of February in Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, M&S and Co-op.
What do kalettes look like?
Kalettes come in little balls, just like Brussels, but with the frilly leaves of kale. They actually look rather beautiful, with deep green leaves, and vibrant purple stems.
They vary a lot in size - some of them are barely bigger than my thumbnail, whereas others are a good few inches across.
I cut any particularly big kalettes in half, but I actually really love a bit of variation in my veggies, as it gives a bit more texture to the finished dish - the smaller kalettes cook more quickly, whereas the bigger ones still have a bit of bite.
What do kalettes taste like?
Kalettes taste pretty much how you'd expect them to - a combination of sprouts and kale! They have a more subtle flavour than regular sprouts, but with a little more of the irony richness you get in kale.
Since the flavour of green veg isn't usually super strong, I always like to add some tasty extras to my kalettes / sprouts / kale / any other similar veg. Some garlic and a splash of cream goes a long way to transforming a simple green vegetable into something really irresistible.
How to cook kalettes
If you boil your kalettes to oblivion, just like overcooked sprouts, they won't be particularly enjoyable. But if you roast or sauté them, they're much tastier, and keep a bit of texture too.
Here, I sautéed them in a pan, along with some mushrooms, onions and plenty of garlic. This softens the kalettes, but they don't end up at all mushy, so they're much more enjoyable than when they're boiled.
To make your kalettes extra irresistible (and nice and festive!), add a good slosh of cream, and some grated parmesan (well, a vegetarian version, of course).
If anyone in your family is a green veg hater, try serving them coated in a cheesy cream sauce, and see if that helps... How could it not?!
The pièce de résistance is to add a nice crispy cheesy topping to your creamed kalettes. Because when has crispy cheese ever not improved a dish?!
Just sprinkle a little more parmesan over the top of your creamy vegetables, and pop the whole thing under the grill (broiler) for a few minutes.
Perfect served as a side dish for your Christmas dinner, Sunday roast, or any other meal that you want to feel a bit special!
What if I can't find kalettes?
Kalettes are readily available in the UK all through the winter, but if you'd like to cook this recipe at any other time, it's really easy to adapt.
You could swap the kalettes for standard Brussels sprouts or kale, or any other green veg - cabbage, spinach, broccoli, green beans... whatever you can get your hands on.
A mixture of all of the above would be amazing too!
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- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 210 g (~ 7 ½ oz) kalettes (or other green veg) (halve any large kalettes)
- 5 medium mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 150 ml (~ ⅔ cup) single cream
- 100 ml (~ ½ cup) vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 60 g vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated (~ ½ cup when grated)
- Heat a dash of oil in a large frying pan, and add the sliced onion. If you're in a rush, just cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Or, if you've got time to spare and you'd prefer your onion to caramelise further, keep the heat very low, and allow it to cook slowly until it's a deep golden brown - depending on how hot you have the pan, it could take a full hour.
- When the onion is soft, add the kalettes, mushrooms and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for another 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are all fairly soft.
- Add the cream, vegetable stock, thyme, pepper, nutmeg, and about half of the grated cheese. Mix thoroughly - as the cheese melts into the liquid, it should give a smooth, glossy sauce. Simmer gently until the vegetables are all cooked to your liking.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and put the pan under a grill (broiler) set to a medium heat for a few minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.