Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Chestnuts & Cream

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Chestnuts & Cream

Serves 4 

Takes 40 minutes 

Description

Lardons measuring about 1cm (½ inch) work best here and you can trim away the fat if there’s a lot, since this is a rich dish served as part of a rich meal. If you don’t have room in the oven, you can do this on the hob instead, you will need to blanch the halved sprouts in boiling water for a couple of minutes first. Drain, let them dry and meanwhile gently sauté the bacon and chestnuts in the oil until the lardons have crisped up. Add the sprouts and sauté until they begin to caramelize, about 4–5 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and serve with or without the cream.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas mark 6. Trim the sprouts, removing any tough stems and damaged outer leaves. Wash the sprouts, then halve the largest. Leave smaller sprouts whole, or they will become very soft during cooking.
2. Choose a baking sheet with a rim or a large roasting tin into which you can fit everything in a single layer. Tip the sprouts, oil, lardons and chestnut pieces, if using, into the tin and toss with a pinch of pepper, using your hands to ensure every sprout is coated in oil and seasoning. Shuffle the sprout halves so that most of them are facing cut side down.
3. Place in the hot oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss gently - you will notice some of the loose leaves are darkening and turning nutty in flavour.
4. Return to the oven for 5–10 minutes, then taste one of the sprouts to check for doneness - it’s up to you whether you want them completely tender or with a bit of bite.
5. Remove the tin from the oven. You can serve the sprouts as they are, with a squeeze of lemon and some pepper, or you can add the cream.
6. Place the roasting tin over a ring set to a medium heat and once sizzling, add 4 tablespoons of the cream. Remove from the heat straight away and toss everything together. Add the rest of the cream if it seems dry.
7. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and toss again, then taste and add more juice as needed - it shouldn’t be lemony but the juice should bring welcome tartness. You probably won’t need salt because of the lardons. Finish with a twist of black pepper and serve.

Ingredients

• 500g (1lb 2oz) Brussels sprouts
• 3 tablespoons flavourless oil
• 175g (6oz) smoked bacon lardons
• 125g (4½oz) cooked chestnuts, crumbled into halves (optional)
• 5–6 tablespoons single cream (optional)
• Juice of ½ small lemon
• Freshly ground black pepper