Sprouts never tasted so good

Arlene Thompson. INLT 16-611-CON
Arlene Thompson. INLT 16-611-CON

The Christmas cookery class at Carrickfergus cookery school, Carrick YMCA, discovered a delicious way to serve Brussels sprouts for Christmas dinner. Flavoured with fresh roasted chestnuts, crispy pancetta and marsala wine, the humble sprout has never tasted so good!

Brussels sprouts with chestnuts marsala and crispy pancetta

Serves 8-10


1kg Brussels sprouts

1 x 206g pack cubed pancetta or bacon lardons

25g butter

200g fresh or vacuum-packed cooked whole chestnuts, roughly chopped

50ml Marsala or Madeira wine

A large bunch of flat leafed parsley, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Trim the bottoms of the sprouts, and cook for about 5 minutes, in a pan of boiling water until tender, but still with a bit of bite.

Plunge into cold water to retain their bright green colour if not using straight away.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, fry the pancetta in a little oil, until bronzed and crisp.

Drain off the fat from the pan. Add the butter and let it bubble, add the chopped chestnuts and cook for 1 minute.

Turn up the heat and add the Marsala, letting it bubble away to make a savoury syrup.

Add the drained sprouts and half the parsley and heat through. Stir well and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve sprinkled with the remaining parsley.


Get ahead the day before by blanching the sprouts as described, ensuring they are immediately plunged/rinsed in very cold water to retain their colour.

Store in a sealed container in fridge until required.

If you don’t have marsala or madeira, try using a little sherry instead.