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Christmas Kitchen: Shredded Sprouts with Pancetta and Chestnuts
“Please pass the brussels sprouts” is something you’ll never hear in our Christmas household. My mother loves them, but for years and years my Dad and I thought they were the root of all Christmas evil (and he still does). However, over the past year or so I have discovered how wonderful a brussels sprout can be when it is shredded and tossed in salads, seasonal slaws, or added to soups and stews. This year? I’ve gone down the sauté route with fresh thyme (the herb that happened to be in my fridge when I made these and worked beautifully), sweet nuggets of roasted chestnut, salty chunks of fried pancetta, a sprinkling of toasted caraway seeds, and a good few glugs of Worcestershire Sauce to brighten things up a bit.
This does not re-heat well (though, it would be great fried up in a leftovers rosti), so only make as much as you’re going to serve up. This recipe provides a generous side for about more people, perhaps more if you’re putting a fair few different side dishes on the table. (Oh, and if you’re after some smart, stylish Christmas china, I’m more than slightly in love with Sophie Conran’s range for Portmeirion, and this the Christmas print).
This delicious way of serving brussels sprouts is great for the Christmas or Thanksgiving table, and is guaranteed to win over all of the sprout haters like me!
1 Small White Onion, finely chopped
1 Large Knob Unsalted Butter
65g Cubed Pancetta
1/4 tsp Caraway Seeds
250g Brussels Sprouts (finely shredded)
3–4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
3–4 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Large Handful Cooked Chestnuts, roughly crumbled
In a large sauté pan (I have this one), melt the butter over a medium heat until it is frothy.
Add the onion, and cook until translucent, but not browned at all.
Add the pancetta and the caraway seeds (lightly crush them between your fingertips as you add them to the pan to help release their flavours), and gently fry until the pancetta has cooked through, and started to crisp.
Add the sprouts, and stir until they are coated with the butter, onions and bacon fat.
Add the leaves of the thyme sprigs and the Worcestershire Sauce, and fry for about 10 minutes until the sprouts are soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in the chestnuts.
Serve in a warm serving dish straight to the table.
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