Not just for Christmas, Brussels sprouts are in season all winter and this tasty soup is the ideal winter warmer.
500g (1lb) Brussels sprouts
2tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
100ml (3½fl oz) crème fraîche
Freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
15g (½oz) butter
Top tip: If you're not vegetarian, then a delicious variation is to fry a few rashers of smoked streaky bacon along with the sprouts to give extra flavour.
Overcooked sprouts release sulphur compounds, which give off an unpleasant smell, so only lightly cook them to avoid this.
Reserve 2-3 whole sprouts then trim and halve the rest.
Heat oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook over a medium heat for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to turn a light-golden colour. Add halved sprouts to pan and cook over medium heat for 4-5 mins.
Pour 600ml (1 pint) boiling water into the pan and stir in the stock cube. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 mins, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the soup to cool slightly.
Purée the soup in a liquidiser, food processor, or with a hand blender, until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan. Add crème fraîche and reheat soup until it's piping hot, then season it to taste with nutmeg and salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a small pan and shred reserved sprouts. Add sprouts to pan and cook them for 2-3 mins. Pour soup into serving bowls and then top with sautéed sprouts and grind over extra black pepper, or nutmeg. (Not suitable for freezing).