Five spice chicken and pickled sprouts wraps

I am one of the many people who don’t like sprouts. And before you tell me I haven’t had them the right way I’ve done boiled, fried, stir-fried, gratin-ed, shredded, cooked in butter, with spices, you know name it…

However, this year I’ve been working towards eating a lot more seasonally, so I’ve been looking again at the humble sprout. Otherwise I’ll be eating nothing but kale and spring greens until April.

sarson's quick pickle vinegar on board with whole and shredded sprouts

Whilst I was fettling with sprouts and trying to find something I could stomach, Sarson’s sent me some of their Quick Pickle vinegar, which gave me the idea of trying sprouts raw (well pickled), as I’m a massive fan of quick pickled cabbage. It worked didn’t it?

Looking for another Christmas recipe? Why not check out my apple, marzipan and boozy fruit lighter Christmas cake.

Two recipes for the price of one!

There are two version of this recipe. One you make from scratch, with succulent five spice chicken and a banging gravy. There are quite a few steps, but it’s definitely worth it and if you want you can just make the chicken and use store bought everything else. The other is a simple ‘pile on the leftovers or store bought’, and is perfect or using up post Christmas scraps and all those sprouts that seem to be lying about!

Whichever version you make you’ll be left with a sweet, succulent, sharp wrap that I am so making with the leftover goose come Boxing Day. The longer version of this recipe uses up the chicken skin to make chicken cracking – it’s so, so worth it! Decadent I know, but it is Christmas…

You can make the chicken and gravy up to two days in advance, keep covered separately in the fridge and make sure it’s piping hot before using (or just reheat the gravy and use room temp chicken). You can make the bread sauce up to two days before, reheat gently. You can make the flatbread dough two days before if kept well wrapped in the fridge.

Oh and a word on my bread sauce. It’s rich and it’s herby, cut back if you don’t want to taste the cloves, anise and bay as much as I like. But this version really balances here with the aromatic chicken, sharp/sweet cranberry and the tangy sprouts.

Five spice chicken and pickled sprouts wrap, with bread sauce, cranberry, spiced gravy and crispy chicken skin

Serves 4 – make 2 hours or 20 minutes, depending which one you take


For the chicken

  • 8 skin on and bone in chicken thighs
  • 3 tblsp five spice
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 onion, cut into rounds, skin left on
  • 500ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 tblsp runny honey
  • 1 tblsp marmite

For the wraps – use this recipe from Recipe Tin Eats. I made loads of wraps and these seriously are the best. You need plain flour, milk, butter and salt.

For the bread sauce

  • 1/2 an onion
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 pint of full-fat milk
  • 25g salted butter
  • 2 tblsp cream

For the sprouts

  • 200g sprouts finely shredded and pulled apart, cores removed
  • 200ml Sarsons quick pickle or 200ml Sarsons white vinegar with 1 tsp salt and 1 sp sugar

For the rest

  • Jar of cranberry sauce – get the most fruit/lowest sugar you can
  • salt
  • 1 tblsp cornflour
  • 2 tblsp light olive oil

For the quick version

  • Shredded turkey, goose, ham or other leftover meat
  • Leftover bread sauce
  • Jar of cranberry sauce
  • Leftover gravy
  • Make the sprouts as above
  • Packet tortillas


  1. Take the skin off the chicken and keep to one side. Pop the oven on to 160c fan. 
  2. Put a heavy bottomed, oven-proof casserole on a high heat on the hob and add the oil. Once it’s hot add the chicken and brown on both sides. You’ll need to do this batches, so the meat fries and doesn’t steam. Take out and place to one side. Don’t skip this step.
  3. Once all the chicken is browned, drop the heat to medium-low and add the onion. Cover the chicken all over with the five spice and salt, making sure you use all of both. This is where the flavour is coming from!
  4. Pop the chicken back into the pan on top of the onion and add the stock until it comes to half way up the chicken. Don’t use it all of you don’t need it. Stir in the honey and marmite, bring to the boil, pop the lid on and put into the oven for an hour and a quarter, or until the chicken is soft and falling off the bone.
  5. Make the flatbreads and rest the dough now. 
  6. With twenty minutes to go, pop a piece of baking paper onto a baking tray and lay out the chicken skin flat (make sure there’s no meat left on). Sprinkle with salt and add another piece of baking paper over the top, then a smaller baking tray weighing everything down. Bake for 15 minutes (don’t let it get too brown, you want it golden).
  7. Take out and put the skin on to some kitchen roll to crisp before using.
  8. Make the bread sauce (see method below) just before you take the chicken out of the oven. Put the lid on to keep warm.
  9. Place the sprouts and vinegar in a bowl and leave to one side.
  10. Take the chicken out of the oven and out of the pan. Strain the cooking juices and the add back to the pan. Place the pan on a medium heat and add a slurry made of 1 tblsp cornflour and cold water. Add to the sauce and bring the boil to thicken – taste for seasoning. Cover and keep warm.
  11. Whilst the gravy is thickening take the chicken off the bones. reserve the bones for stock making at a later date (you can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days for freeze them for three months).
  12. Drain the sprouts.
  13. Make the wraps as per the recipe and then put it all together. Onto the wrap add the bread sauce, then cranberry, then chicken, then sprouts and skin. Or however you like it!
  14. Take the hot gravy to the table and pour over as you eat, using any leftover flatbread to mop it all up.

Method – bread sauce

small milk pan with milk bay onion clove star anise peppercorn infusing for bread sauce
  1. Stud the onion with the cloves and add to a smallish pan with the bay, star anise, peppercorns and milk. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. As soon as it reaches heat, turn it off and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the milk and add back to the pan over the lowest heat possible, add the breadcrumbs and stir for five or so minutes, stirring regularly. You want all the liquid to have been absorbed.
  3. Stir in the butter and cream, then taste and season to how you like it.

Method – quick version

  1. Place the spouts into a bowl with the vinegar and place to one side.
  2. Forage bread sauce, meat, skin, crackling, cranberry and gravy – or make whatever you need from the recipe above.
  3. Heat the gravy up till piping hot and add the meat.
  4. Warm up the tortillas using a hot, dry frying pan, or in the oven as per packet instructions.
  5. Then smear the tortillas with bread sauce, cranberry, hot meat in gravy and top with sprouts.
  6. Feel smug as you parade your amazing wrap in front of everyone eating a boring, dry sandwich.
  7. If you’re feeling super carb-tastic, add some leftover roasties too. Go on, it’s Christmas…

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pickled sprouts five spice chicken with cranberry, bread sauce and gravy on flat bead on grey plate