“Once I see the first subtly coloured purple sprouting broccoli stems, I know the hard winter in the kitchen garden is drawing to an end-they’re a sign that spring is just around the corner. It won’t be long before we’re enjoying the first asparagus, leaving root vegetables and the shooting season far behind. I’m using up the game in our freezer, so, as a change from pheasant goujons, I looked to Asia for inspiration”

Hoisin pheasant breasts with purple sprouting broccoli and steamed rice

Serves 4

Ingredients

50ml hoisin sauce
30ml soy sauce (low salt)
1tspn grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 spring onions, finely sliced diagonally
100ml olive oil
15ml fish sauce
15ml lime juice
15ml soy sauce
2tspn sugar
100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
4 pheasant breasts, cut into strips
400g purple sprouting broccoli
A handful fresh coriander
500g long-grain white rice

Method

Place the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, chilli and the white part of the diagonally sliced spring onions into a large freezer bag with the pheasant-breast pieces. Leave to marinade for 20 minutes.

To make the Asian dressing, put all the olive oil, fish sauce, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar into an old jam jar and then shake well.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a wok, add the sliced mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the pheasant-breast pieces. Fry further until just cooked, about five minutes on a medium heat, then pour the contents of the freezer bag over them and heat through.

Prepare the purple sprouting broccoli by trimming any woody stems or tough leaves and then boil it in a saucepan for about three minutes. Drain and then pour the dressing over it. Mix well to ensure an even coating.

Serve the pheasant breasts scattered with fresh coriander and the green part of the spring onions, with the purple sprouting broccoli and rice on the side. Chopsticks optional.

More ways with purple sprouting broccoli

Purple sprouting broccoli and purple Brussels sprouts

I still have some purple Brussels sprouts growing in the kitchen garden, which I thought would complement purple sprouting broccoli both taste-wise and visually.

To make this healthy salad, preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4, coat 250g of broccoli florets and 250g halved sprouts in olive oil and roast for 20 minutes. Add a sachet of microwaveable quinoa, one chopped preserved lemon, fresh oregano and a sliced spring onion and pour a few tbspns vinaigrette over them all. Serve with grilled salmon or on its own for a light lunch.

Apicius’s ancient Roman recipe for purple sprouting broccoli
Grind a tablespoon each of cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar. Add a finely sliced spring onion, a splash of olive oil and a little white-wine vinegar. Mix them together well and pour the results over freshly cooked purple sprouting broccoli florets.

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