Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that everyone claimed to dislike yet everyone served at Christmas anyway. The first British recipe for them appeared in the 1840s, served in “the Belgian mode,” and they have a long association with Flanders. Essentially tiny cabbages, Brussels sprouts once had the reputation of being impossible to cook: they were generally boiled whole, and the middle tended to remain raw while the outside turned to mush. To avoid that outcome, they were traditionally overcooked, and the British used to start muttering darkly about needing to get the sprouts on for Christmas dinner from early November onward. This recipe is rather less of a trial, although the original, true to form, left the sprouts whole.