Liven up your Christmas dinner (or any other roasts) with these brussels sprouts cooked with pancetta and a hint of orange.
If you’re in charge of cooking Christmas dinner this year then, with a week to go, you’re probably thinking about all the ingredients you need for your perfect Christmas dinner. I’m sure that for most of you, this will include brussels sprouts – love them or hate them, Christmas dinner wouldn’t be the same without them.
Now I’m a member of that strange group of people that actually enjoys eating sprouts. If you’re not like me and you hate sprouts then this probably isn’t the recipe for you. The intention here isn’t to disguise the flavour of the sprouts so you can pretend you’re eating something else, it’s to make what is already a nice vegetable into something extra delicious.
All I can imagine while writing up this recipe is my Dad sat at home saying to my Mum “I’m glad I’m not going to their house for Christmas dinner. I want my sprouts to taste like sprouts. I don’t want them covered in orange”.
The trick with this recipe is not to overdo the orange zest, you only need a small amount so that you get an occasional burst of freshness. Too much orange and that’s all you’ll taste.
If you’re still not convinced, then there’s still time for a roast this weekend so you can try them out before the big day.
To make my sprouts with pancetta and orange you will need a sharp knife, a saucepan, a frying pan, and fine grater (suitable for the orange zest) and something to stir it all with.
Sprouts with Pancetta and Orange
- 500 g Brussels Sprouts
- ½ tsp Olive oil
- 65 g Pancetta Cubes
- Zest of ¼ of an Orange
- Bring a pan of salted water to the boil.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sprouts (500g). Chop off the bottoms and remove the outer leaves. If the sprouts are large, chop them in half. Otherwise leave them whole and cut a small cross in the bottom.
- Add the sprouts to the pan of boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes until they are al dente.
- Drain the sprouts and season with salt - I prefer to season the sprouts at this stage as the sprouts need salt to enhance the flavour but the pancetta doesn't. Seasoning at this point means that the salt will end up on the sprouts where it's needed. I find I use less salt doing it this way.
- In a frying pan, heat the olive oil (½ tsp) and add the pancetta (65g).
- Once the pancetta has browned, add the sprouts and fry on a medium heat for a few minutes until the pancetta is fully cooked and the sprouts are starting to brown around the edges
- Grate over the orange zest (¼ of an orange) and stir.