Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts
This recipe shows you how to prepare and sautee sprouts and chestnuts together on the hob, in some special nutty oils to give them a special extra flavour. At Christmas dinner in our house, apart from the roast potatoes, this is one side dish that will always be on the table – sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts.
Roasted Chestnuts are one of my favourite things – especially when they have just come out of the fire.
This recipe for sauteed Brussels sprouts and chestnuts uses the sweet taste of roasted chestnuts, which together with the natural bitterness of the seared Brussels sprouts is the perfect combination to go with your turkey.
Lots of people are put off eating sprouts from an early age. Maybe because they taste a little bitter, or perhaps the way they are served.
I remember having boiled sprouts at school as a kid, which has got to be the worst way to cook them, especially when they are overcooked. They become soggy and really very unpleasant.
However, try frying them in some nutty oils instead on the hob and you will never look back.
In our house, we love Brussels sprouts. They are sometimes incorrectly called Brussel sprouts – but Brussels, the city in Belgium, after which they are named, is spelled with an ‘s’. (And now I notice I have misspelt in the URL!)
Sprouts are in season in the UK between October and March, so making this recipe a perfect accompaniment to many dishes, but especially a Sunday roast, or Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.
Brussels sprouts are a member of the Gemmifera group of cabbages and are like mini cabbages. Sprouts, however, grow on a stalk, as opposed to the larger cabbages that grow on the ground.
My missus loves Brussels sprouts, and we enjoy them regularly as an accompaniment to meat, or sometimes just on their own, made like this.
How long can you keep Brussels Sprouts?
Well, this depends on a few things. The condition when you bought them, how they have been handled and the environmental conditions. Out of the fridge they will last for a few days, and in the fridge up to about 5 days, but they do tend to deteriorate quite quickly.
I have tried to freeze them in the past, but the result was not that successful – they took on water somehow and ended up tasting a bit like boiled sprouts – a reminder of school.
It is best to eat them soon after purchasing.
Castanea sativa, or the edible sweet chestnut, is not to be confused with the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), or ‘conker’ tree.
The nuts look similar but horse chestnuts are not edible and are in fact slightly poisonous. The conker nuts come in a green coloured spikey husk that opens up when the nuts are ripe.
Sweet chestnuts, on the other hand, have an even more prickly protective seed cover and look like this when they are ready to harvest:
The sweet chestnut is delicious when roasted on its own and you may find them in winter being sold by street vendors when they look a bit like this:
Served with a bit of salt: Delicious!
Back in the UK, we used to search for sweet chestnuts when we were kids and we would light a bonfire to roast them.
Anyhow, they are the perfect ingredient as well when combined with the bitter Brussels sprout.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
This dish can be produced in the oven or on the hob. I prefer to cook them on the hob in a cast-iron skillet.
The skillet retains the heat well and it is easier to keep an eye on so that you do not burn everything. It gives the same effect as roasting and you can get a good charred effect from the cast-iron skillet.
Preparation of Chestnut Brussels Sprouts
Preparing Brussels sprouts and chestnuts can take some time. For these photos, I bought some ready-peeled chestnuts which come in a vacuum-packed bag. Super easy.
But if you have gathered them yourself, then you will need to put a cut in the flat side of the nut before boiling for 15 minutes or roasting in the oven for 15 minutes. The shell and inner skin (a sort of hairy layer that covers the nut) will then peel off easily, and you can cut them to suit. Then just add to the pan when the sprouts are nearly cooked.
The sprouts have to be individually cut and peeled. I take off the stalk end and remove the outer two leaves until I have a clean sprout. Then I will halve or quarter them depending on their size. You may need to rinse them depending on how clean they are.
I tend to do this in front of the TV (Netflix boxset or a live rugby match). It can be a bit tedious and time consuming, especially if you are making a large batch. But believe me, it is worth it.
If you avoid using any butter this can be classed as a vegan or vegetarian recipe. It is certainly one of our favourite vegetarian recipes.
Here I served them up with a delicious sausage sandwich.
And here with some potato patties.
I hope you enjoy it. Please give some feedback in the comments section below if you do!
How to make roasted Brussels Sprouts and chestnuts