Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Pancetta
“This is a brilliant way to cook and serve Brussels sprouts so that they cook more quickly, taste fresher, stay greener and the salt in the water gets into them more fully. First, I trim off any brown leaves but don’t trim off the dark green ones; they’re delicious, like the sweetest cabbage. I don’t cross the underside; instead, I cut the sprouts in half. A Brussels Sprout prepared like this, then boiled, drained, dried briefly in a hot pan and seasoned will taste at least twice as good as one peeled until it is white, then cooked until it is soft on the outside, still a little hard on the inside then served waterlogged. To make Christmas easier, refresh them in cold water and drain them a day ahead so you just have to re-heat them on the day. My aunt-in-law Diana said that this technique changed her sprout cooking life. Chestnuts and pancetta or any other bacon are the natural partners for sprouts.”
By Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay
Suitable for gluten-free
- 100g of Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts, sliced
- 400g Brussels Sprouts
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, or turkey fat if you’re doing this at Christmas
- 70g-100g pancetta,
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- A knob of butter
Prep ahead The sprouts can be boiled and refreshed at least a day ahead. They re-heat wonderfully in a microwave. The chestnuts can be cut at the same time.
1.Fill your largest saucepan with water. Add salt. Cover and bring to the boil. Put a small bowl of cold water next to your cooker. Put a colander in your sink
2.Trim the sprouts as little as you possibly can. Cut them in half
3.Add the sprouts to the boiling water. Cover the saucepan. Bring back to the boil. Take the lid off. Boil for 3 minutes or until the sprouts are tender to your taste. To taste one, lift it out with tongs and dip it in the cold water first so that you don’t burn your mouth
4.While the sprouts boil, get a large frying pan, add the vegetable oil and get it medium hot. Add the pancetta and sauté for about 1 minute. Not to get it really brown, but just to cook it through. Add the chestnuts, sauté for a further minute
5.Drain the sprouts thoroughly in your colander. Return them to the empty pan; put it back on the heat and sauté for 20-30 seconds to evaporate away the excess water. Turn off the heat
6.Add the sprouts to the chestnuts and pancetta. Toss everything together, with some butter, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and serve
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