Orange and Honey Caramelised Brussels Sprouts
You might have thought that either Christmas has come early this year or I have completely gone crazy. No, no, neither is correct. I thought it’s about time that we celebrated these compact cabbage balls packed with superb flavour and I think they are pretty good looking too! Um.. have I pushed it a bit too far now!?
All jokes aside I like Brussels sprouts and if cooked correctly I think they are pretty pleasant. They are robust and strong in flavour and for that reason the combination of smoky pancetta, cinnamon, orange, honey and hazelnuts make a pretty delicious but powerful combination. The secret for me lies in the cooking, if they are over cooked there is nothing worse than the slimy taste other than the smell! One you cannot remove for a few days!
I blanch them in rapid boiling salted water until just tender but still al dente, refresh them in icy water, drain and then saute them in a bit of goose fat and glaze them with honey and orange along with the other aromatics. The hazelnuts adds a lovely crunch and texture to the dish and the addition of the orange zest and juice cuts through the richness of the pancetta and goose fat.
This dish is the perfect side dish for roast pork, chicken, guinea fowl or venison.
It is also the prefect dish to be served alongside the Christmas turkey and to make it slightly more festive, substitute the hazelnuts with chestnuts. The pancetta is completely optional, I quite like the meaty richness it adds to the dish. Be even more adventurous and substitute the smoked pancetta for wild boar bacon.
- 400g Brussels sprouts, cut in half
- 100g smoked pancetta, cut into lardons
- Juice and Zest of half a fresh orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1tbs goose fat
- 1tsp honey
- 50g roughly chopped hazelnuts
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Bring to the boil a large saucepan filled with salted water, blanch the Brussels sprouts until tender but still al dente. Drain and refresh in ice water, then drain the Brussels sprouts in a colander.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan with a 1/3rd of the goose fat and sautee the smoked pancetta lardons until golden brown, transfer the cooked lardons to kitchen paper to drain.
Return the pan to the heat and add the rest of the goose fat until it starts to foam, add the drained cooled Brussels sprouts with the cinnamon stick and seasoning, saute until the sprouts start to take on colour, add the hazelnuts and honey, stir and saute for a couple of minutes.
Return the lardons to the pan and deglaze with the orange juice, reduce the juice until it becomes sticky (this should not take long at all), add the orange zest and serve immediately.
Food Fanatics Tips
Replace the hazelnuts with chestnuts for a festive Christmas cheer.