Love them or hate them, sprouts are a compulsory feature of the Christmas dinner. My English friends have told me of their horror stories about how sprouts were cooked for them as a child but I can assure you this recipe will win you over. Full of vitamins and iron, I personally love them.
The sprouts can be blanched then placed in iced water and drained the day before, ready to be caramelized.
Brussels sprouts, bases trimmed
Chestnuts, peeled and blanched or pre-cooked ones are fine.
Sea salt and black pepper
In a large pan, bring the water and salt to a roaring boil.
Blanch the sprouts for 3 minutes, then strain into a colander and place in iced water to stop the cooking.
Cut each sprout in half and drain onto a tray lined with a clean tea towel or thick kitchen paper to get them as dry as possible which will make it easier to caramelize.
On a medium heat, in a large frying pan, heat the butter until it starts to foam. The foaming butter should turn light brown and smell nutty. It is important to let it reach this stage, so that it will slowly caramelise the surface of sprouts. But don’t let the butter burn or it will become carcinogenic and indigestible, besides tasting unpleasant.
Stir in the bacon lardons and cook for 2-3 minutes until they just start to brown.
Add the sprouts cut-side down along with the blanched or cooked chestnuts, and continue to caramelise for 3 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from the heat. Add a little pinch of salt and pepper, taste and either serve immediately or empty them out onto a clean tray and leave to cool for 15 minutes at room temperature before storing in the fridge until needed.
To re-heat, place in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 10 minutes with a loose covering of tinfoil until piping hot.