This week I am once again concentrating on those Christmas veg, namely brussel sprouts and parsnips, to make sure that you are not completely board of them before the big day even arrives. A word of warning though – there are lots of recipes out there suggesting you roast, char-grill or pan-fry your brussel sprouts. In my opinion do not trust them! Nothing beats lightly boiling them in salted water. It brings out the sweetness, whereas all the other methods seem to intensify the bitterness and cabbaginess.
I concocted this Brussel Sprout, Puy Lentil, Pancetta and Mustard recipe to serve alongside some good sausages for dinner, but it was so good I recon you could do without the sausages and just eat it on its own.
Brussel Sprouts, Puy Lentil, Pancetta and Mustard
100g Le Puy lentils, uncooked and rinsed
3 large handfuls of Brussels sprouts, stemmed and halved
90g slices thin-cut pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, cut into small strips
A splash of double cream
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cover the lentils with plenty of cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large frying pan, sautee the bacon in some olive oil until all the fat has rendered and the bacon is all crisp. Meanwhile, in a large pan of boiling salted water, cook the Brussel sprouts until to your liking. You know they are done when they taste good. Drain the Brussel sprouts and add to the bacon. Drain the lentils saving just a tiny bit of their cooking water and add to the Brussel sprouts. Return to the heat and cook just until everything is hot. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the mustard and stir through. Add a dash of cream, stir and serve straight away.