Vegetable Side: Roasted Maple Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta & Chestnuts
This Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta & Chestnuts dish was an enormous success, even with the kiddos at the table and who ever heard of children eating their Brussels sprouts?!
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups fresh roasted chestnuts, around 3/4 pound in shell (substitute peeled, frozen chestnuts if desired)
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved (quartered, if large)
- Salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Roasting removes the shell and richens the flavour of chestnuts. Using the tip of a knife, cut a small X in the flat side of their outer shell, then spread them out on a baking pan. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes; you’ll see the skin curling away and the chestnut taking on a golden color. Remove from oven and let cool barely. The shells can easily be removed. Set aside the chestnuts.
Heat the olive oil in a large (around three- to four-quart) sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, until it renders its fat and is lightly browned. Add the chestnuts, toss or stir to combine, then cook for about one minute. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook, tossing or stirring, for about two minutes.
Transfer vegetables to a rimmed baking pan or roasting pan; they should spread out into one barely overlapping layer. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the upper third of the oven, stirring once midway through until the vegetables are golden and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Use the tip of a sharp paring knife to test the doneness at the base of a Brussels sprout; it should insert easily.
In a small bowl or cup, stir together the water, maple syrup, and cayenne. Pour the mixture into the hot baking pan, using a wooden spoon to dissolve any browned bits. Return pan to oven and cook another five minutes.
Serve hot or warm, family-style, in a festive bowl.