Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Pecans and Maple

Brussels SproutsThese Brussels Sprouts are an absolute winner and aught to be tried if there’s a sprout-hater coming for Christmas dinner. They are cooked with smoked pancetta, pecans and maple syrup which I think is a fantastic combination. If you can’t find pancetta, just use bacon lardons or streaky bacon just make sure it’s smoked! The smokiness of the bacon brings out the smoky sweetness of the pancetta and you also have that beautiful salty/sweet thing happening. I also think that pecans and maple syrup are best buddies and bring out the best in each other.

There really isn’t awhile lot to this dish. The Brussels sprouts just need par-boiling for 6 minutes in salted water (I use the water the ham was boiled in).Just make sure they ONLY get 6 minutes or they will become soggy and gross. Just to emphasis this, you bring a large pot of salted water, or ham water to a rolling boil, then add the sprout and strain after 6 minutes. Then just set them aside until later when you add them to the bacon and nuts and then drizzle over the syrup. I know that this is a truck-load of calories for what is likely going to be the only bit of green on your plate, but it’s Christmas! Everything should be decedent and gorgeous! You probably won’t eat sprouts for another year anyway.

What makes these perfect for Christmas is that the dish can be thrown together quickly soon after the turkey goes in so there is no rush or stress. Then finished off just before serving. Trim and score the day before. This is a job that can be delegated to people of all skill levels.

Christmas Brussels Sprouts


  • 750 g brussels sprouts, trimmed and base scored with an X
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 200 g smoken pancetta lardons
  • 200 g pecans
  • 100 ml maple syrup


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil (or the water the ham was boiled in).
  2. Add the sprouts and allow to boil for 6 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a high heat then add the pancetta. Stir-fry until crispy.
  4. Add the pecans and fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the sprouts and warm through then pour over the maple syrup.
  6. Cook for 2 minutes then transfer to a warmed serving dish, scatter over the parsley and serve.
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