There are Brussels sprouts recipes for everyday and then, there are
Brussels sprouts recipes for Christmas. Sprouts and Chestnuts
definitely falls in the latter category. For me, at any rate. I rarely cook with chestnuts at any other time.
For this recipe, you want small sprouts - about the size of marbles, and tightly closed. Ideally, sprouts and chestnuts should be the same size. The finished dish just looks nicer that way!
Again, it's important not to overcook the sprouts and not turn them soggy in too much water.
Come winter, chestnuts are available from most supermarkets. If you don't want to prepare them yourself, then try a packet of pre-cooked and vacuum-packed chestnuts. They tend to lack that slightly smoky edge that freshly roasted chestnuts seem to have, but make a very reasonable standby.
You want roughly equal quantities of sprouts and chestnuts. And since Christmas Dinner tends to be a large meal, 250g of each sprouts and chestnuts should feed 4-6 people. Still, if you love sprouts, just want to make this for a Sunday lunch or have a larger crowd to feed, then the quantities are easily doubled.
As Brussels sprouts recipes go, this one does not demand excessive kitchen skills either.
First cut the chestnut skins, then roast the chestnuts in a hottish oven for 20 mins or so until cooked. Leave until cool enough to handle, then remove the skins. Keep to one side.
Heat the oil or lard in a deep pan, then tip in the peeled sprouts and toss them around until they're bright green and glistening.
Next, turn the heat down a little and sprinkle in the stock powder. Stir until the sprouts are well coated, then tip in the lemon juice. Stand well away when you do this, it spits!
Turn the heat down a little more and clap a lid on the pot, leaving the sprouts to steam in the lemon juice / stock mixture. Don't walk away from the stove - you don't want burnt and sticking sprouts.
Keep shaking the pan and add a splash (no more!) of water or white wine if the pan dries before the sprouts are cooked. Remember, you want them bright green and with bite - not mushy - so take them off the heat long before you'd usually do.
Just before the sprouts are ready, heat the butter in a pan and when its bubbling add the chestnuts. Turn them over until warmed through and they start to catch a little here and there. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of paprika.
Combine sprouts and chestnuts in a serving dish and garnish with a few shavings of orange peel.
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