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Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

The sprout recipe below is really only a slight detour from the traditional route. By all means, stick to the orthodox if you prefer by adding only buttery chestnuts to the Brussels sprouts, but what follows is now my own traditional way of cooking them. There is a lot of parsley, I know, but think of it as another vegetable ingredient rather than a garnish.

Obviously, if you can’t get your hands on pancetta, it’s fine to use bacon. Just scissor it up, and fry it in a little more oil than you need for the pancetta, before proceeding.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

The sprout recipe below is really only a slight detour from the traditional route. By all means, stick to the orthodox if you prefer by adding only buttery chestnuts to the Brussels sprouts, but what follows is now my own traditional way of cooking them. There is a lot of parsley, I know, but think of it as another vegetable ingredient rather than a garnish.

Obviously, if you can’t get your hands on pancetta, it’s fine to use bacon. Just scissor it up, and fry it in a little more oil than you need for the pancetta, before proceeding.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley
Photo by James Merrell
Ocado

(UK only)

Please note that we’ve now introduced a shopping feature with our friends at Ocado so that you can get your ingredients delivered direct to your door, if Ocado serves your area - check at ocado.com/postcode. We hope that this will make shopping for Nigella’s recipe ingredients easier. For any queries related to your Ocado shop, head to ocado.com/customercare.

Ingredients

Serves: 8-10

Metric Cups
  • 1 kilogram brussels sprouts
  • 250 grams pancetta (rind removed, cut into 1 cm cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 30 grams butter
  • 250 grams vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 60 millilitres marsala
  • 1 large bunch of fresh flatleaf parsley (chopped)
  • 2¼ pounds brussels sprouts
  • 8 ounces pancetta (rind removed, cut into 1 cm cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 9 ounces vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • ¼ cup marsala
  • 1 large bunch of fresh italian parsley (chopped)

Please note that nigella.com is not able to accept responsibility for any substitutions that Ocado may need to make as a result of stock availability or otherwise. For any queries, head to ocado.com/customercare.

Feel free to use the “swap” feature and adjust brands and quantities as needed.

Method

  1. Trim the bottoms off each of the sprouts, cutting a cross into each as you go, or at least a slash. This may not be necessary, but I can’t not do it. Then tip them into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender but still retaining a bit of bite, about 5 minutes or so depending on size. Just spoon one out of the water and test (without burning your tongue and thus ruining the whole lunch for yourself) to be sure.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to take everything later (or just drain the sprouts and use their pan, once you’ve drained them), cook the pancetta cubes in the oil, with the rind for more salty fat rendering, until they’re bronzed and crisp, but not cooked to the point of having dried out.
  3. Add the butter and the chestnuts and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, press on the chestnuts to break them up a little. When they’re warmed through, turn the heat up and throw in the Marsala, letting it bubble away, fusing with the pancetta fat and chestnutty butter to form a glorious savoury syrup. Add the drained sprouts and turn well, sprinkling in half the parsley as you do so. Give a good grinding of pepper; you shouldn’t need salt, given the pancetta, but obviously taste to see. Decant to a warmed serving plate and sprinkle over the remaining chopped parsley.
  1. Trim the bottoms off each of the sprouts, cutting a cross into each as you go, or at least a slash. This may not be necessary, but I can’t not do it. Then tip them into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender but still retaining a bit of bite, about 5 minutes or so depending on size. Just spoon one out of the water and test (without burning your tongue and thus ruining the whole lunch for yourself) to be sure.
  2. Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to take everything later (or just drain the sprouts and use their pan, once you’ve drained them), cook the pancetta cubes in the oil, with the rind for more salty fat rendering, until they’re bronzed and crisp, but not cooked to the point of having dried out.
  3. Add the butter and the chestnuts and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, press on the chestnuts to break them up a little. When they’re warmed through, turn the heat up and throw in the Marsala, letting it bubble away, fusing with the pancetta fat and chestnutty butter to form a glorious savoury syrup. Add the drained sprouts and turn well, sprinkling in half the parsley as you do so. Give a good grinding of pepper; you shouldn’t need salt, given the pancetta, but obviously taste to see. Decant to a warmed serving plate and sprinkle over the remaining chopped parsley.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Eat cold or reheat in a microwave until piping hot.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
It is not advisable to make ahead. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Eat cold or reheat in a microwave until piping hot.

Tell us what you think

What 6 Others have said

  • This in my humble opinion is the only way to make sprouts. I love the way the Marsala elevates it into something glorious! It’s actually my fave part of my Christmas dinner as well as the chestnut stuffing! Just want to say, thank you Nigella. You are my Christmas Queen, your beautiful recipes always make Christmas so special for me and my family as well as throughout the year

    Posted by shellm on 24th December 2022
  • We can't get Brussel Sprouts at this time in New Zealand - unless frozen when in season but it's not the same as fresh ones. Love this recipe however! Finished the pudding hunt! Woohoo!

    Posted by Maces_Mum on 24th December 2022
  • I’ve done this but with shredded sprouts and cooked the sprouts IN the mixture with a little water ( just enough to stop it catching) and it’s delicious!! Takes 3 or 4 minutes. Most popular side dish, closely followed by red cabbage in red wine.

    Posted by TatersSE9 on 23rd December 2022
  • This is delicious and makes Sprouts edible at last. The recipe above doesn't mention it, but there's a note in the book about blitzing up leftovers to make into a soup. Make far more of this than you need because that soup is utterly amazing!

    Posted by Eadred on 14th December 2022
  • These sprouts make any Christmas meal.

    Posted by rex172 on 24th December 2021
  • Buon Natale 2020 a tutti! I will be making these sprouts again tomorrow in Chianti, and they are absolutely delicious! Grazie Nigella and all her wonderful people for the great recipes and blog. Un grande abbraccio.

    Posted by caravino on 24th December 2020
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