I have to admit to cooking this vegetable accompaniment to Christmas dinner for the past six years(!) as we love it so much.
The pine nuts and sprouts can be prepared the day before (or prepared and frozen) making it a really quick and easy veg dish that doesn't need to be overly worried about on the day.
Ingredients (serves 8)
50g pine nuts
Lemon, finely grated zest
Nutmeg, small amount grated
1.1kg Brussels sprouts
200g pancetta (optional)
Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan for 2 - 3 minutes until golden and allow to cool. Mix the butter and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the pine nuts and nutmeg and season with freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything together, spoon on to a piece of greaseproof paper and wrap tightly. Freeze for up to a month.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the sprouts. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 - 7 minutes. Drain well, return to the pan, add the pine nut butter and toss to coat.
Optional: fry the pancetta and add to the mixture.
To avoid bitterness: If you find your sprouts often taste bitter there are a couple of things you can do that will help to reduce this...
If you're growing your own, avoid picking them until they've gone through a few frosts. Frost concentrates the sugars making them a bit sweeter. Also overcooking them can make them bitter, so slicing them in half (which also releases some of the acidic compounds they contain) will help them cook a bit quicker too.
Do you have a favourite sprout recipe for Christmas time?