I am so excited for Christmas, I think I enjoy the run up more than the day itself, decorating the tree, writing Christmas cards, making Christmas sweeties. It is a brilliant excuse to cook lots of amazing food, and spend a lot of time eating. The first batches of mince pies were made weeks ago and I spent this weekend making edible gifts.
There are certain foods that are synonymous with Christmas and sprouts have to be right up there on the list (although we have been enjoying them since early November). I think the reason so many people dislike sprouts is that they have had them boiled to death (or worse, boiled to death then reheated), which ironically is just how my granddad likes them. At Christmas mum used to cook them with a nice bite to them, then nuke granddad’s in the microwave for a few minutes until mushy.
I am sure everyone has their favourite Christmas dinner sprout recipe, my favourite is mum’s (of course) sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta. There is so much rich food over Christmas, as there should be, but I think it is nice to freshen it up with a salad but this one is a take on my mums best sprout dish.
I used fresh chestnuts that I roasted in the oven for 15 minutes then (with help from Joel) peeled – alternatively you could use the ready roasted ready peeled tins you can buy in tins. Using the tinned ones will certainly make this a speedy meal.
Sprout, chestnut and pancetta salad.
20ish large sprouts
3 tart apples
Squeeze of lemon juice
200g pancetta – cubed
15 ish chestnuts – roasted and peeled.
For the dressing
2 tsp Honey
3 tsp Mustard
2 tsp Red wine vinegar
Squeeze of lemon juice
Shred the sprouts into thin strips, cube the apple and mix with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Combine in a large bowl.
Combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk through.
Add the pancetta to a medium heated frying pan allowing the fat to melt out, turn up the heat until it starts to crisp up. Add the chestnuts to the pan so they absorb all the amazing baconey flavours. Sprinkle the pancetta and chestnuts over the sprouts and carrots then pour the melted fat into the rest of the dressing ingredients, whisk to combine then pour over the salad.
I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a very happy new year.
P.S I have been reliably informed by my mum than Waitrose do frozen ready peeled chestnuts as an alternative.