To all of you diligent, menu-planning people out there.  Who have had your Thanksgiving menu planned for months.  (Unlike some of us who finalized it…err…who will finalize it next Wednesday at approximately 8PM.)

I am about to throw a wrench in your best-laid plans.


You see, somewhere in the midst of all of my blog hopping and magazine perusing.  And after my mother informed me for the tenth time that, really all they wanted was mashed potatoes and stuffing from a box so I shouldn’t worry myself about it any more.

I got it into my head that I wanted to make Brussels sprouts on the big day.


Maybe it was the joie de vivre with which Amy espoused her love of the Brussels sprout side dish that she is making for Thursday that pushed me over the edge.

Or maybe it’s just my truly vengeful nature.  Who knows.

Either way, on Friday I found myself at the Union Square Farmer’s Market (the first of two trips this weekend, might I add).  Standing in front of a huge pile of sprouts.  When an image of that horrible red box filled with preservatives and high fructose corn syrup and everything you do not want to put into your body popped into my head (Why Stovetop!  Why!).

And so I said, “To hell with it all”.  There was going to be at least one dish on that table that I could feel good about eating.  So help me.


Truly though, the joke’s on me because the sweet nutty flavor of the chestnuts paired with the salty pancetta and utterly addictive marsala wine will have even Brussels sprout haters running to the table.  I did a test run yesterday and Sophie, who doesn’t even like Brussels sprouts, couldn’t keep her fingers out of the bowl.

Revenge literally has never tasted so sweet.

symon collage

Before I get to the recipe, I just wanted to say that I made the bacon-wrapped walleye sole and grilled radicchio with orange and balsamic that were this week’s recipes for Symon Sundays (pictured above).  However, I was thoroughly unenthused and so I decided not to “waste” a post on them.  If you want the recipes, you can find them over at Living in The Kitchen With Puppies!  Natashya loved them so I have a feeling that I did something wrong somewhere.  Oh well.  Can’t love em all.

Also, I was definitely wary of putting chestnuts in this recipe after my parents tried to roast them last year.  And, well.  I really have no idea what they did because sweet and nutty was not the flavor profile I took away from that whole experience.  I was especially concerned when I saw how expensive pre-roasted chestnuts were.  However, when I spotted a box full of raw (local!) chestnuts at Whole Foods for half the price and double the amount, I decided to just go for it.  Let me tell you, these are so easy to roast and SO delicious!  Definitely worth the FIFTEEN minutes they take to cook.  After this, you’ll never buy those vacuum-packed chestnuts ever again.

Homemade Roasted Chestnuts
Preheat oven to 425.  Using a sharp paring knife, cut an X on the flatter surface of each of the chestnuts making sure to cut through the shell and the skin.   Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.  When chestnuts are cool enough to touch (but no cooler than that!) peel off the shell and skin.  The colder they are, the harder this will be to do so don’t let them sit around forever!

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta, and Parsley
Serves 8, adapted from Nigella Lawson‘s Feast

2 1/4 lb brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
4 oz pancetta cut into small strips or diced depending on the cut you use (Nigella uses 9 oz)
2 tbsp butter
8-9 oz roasted chestnuts, halved
1/2 cup marsala wine (Nigella uses 1/4 cup but I found this to be too little)
1 large handful parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

1. Slice the bottoms off each of the Brussels sprouts.  Place the Brussels sprouts into a large saucepan of salted boiling water.  Cook the Brussels sprouts for 5 minutes or until they are tender but still have some of a bite.  Remove the pan from the heat and drain the excess water.  **NOTE – I think that when I make these for Thanksgiving, I’m going to shave the sprouts and saute them in the pancetta fat, this way the flavor will really infuse into them.

2. Heat the oil in a large, clean saucepan.  Add the pancetta and cook until crisp and not dried out. Add the butter and chestnuts to the pancetta saucepan.  With a wooden spoon or spatula, push down on the chestnuts to break them up into pieces.  Once the chestnuts have been warmed through, turn up the heat and add the marsala.  Cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly.

3. Add the sprouts and half the parsley to the saucepan.  (Unless you decided to shave the sprouts.  Then add them right after the pancetta is cooked.)  Mix well.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.  Put the sprouts on a serving plate and sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top.

This is my submission to Reeni’s Thanksgiving Side Dish Showdown!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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92 Responses to Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta, and Parsley

  1. Simply Life says:

    I’m with you and had to put back the stuffing bag that I’ve relied on for years yesterday after reading the ingredients and not feeling good about preparing something to each when I couldn’t even tell you what was in it!

  2. elra says:

    My favorite vegetable to serve, especially on Thanksgiving day !

  3. Big Dude says:

    We’re big sprout fans, but since many people aren’t, we usually only make them for ourselves. We tried them for Thanksgiving a few years ago and had a lot left over. This looks like a nice different twist from our usual.

  4. I like the idea of shavinmg the sprouts to help infude the flavours. My own daughter made a believer out of me last Thanksgiving.

  5. Nelly says:

    What do you mean by “shaving” the sprouts? Because I keep getting the image of whipping out the Gillette and I KNOW that’s wrong.

    I LOVE Brussels sprouts. I am a sprout fiend. They’re expensive here, though, so usually I’ll only have them at special dinners as made by my mom, and her recipe requires a whole lot of sugar in the form of maple syrup (it’s pretty astounding too and I’ll share it sometime, it’s just a little too much for me lately). But this is…actually almost paleo, minus the wine. Not that I WOULD minus the wine. Just saying 🙂

  6. Pierce says:

    Now pancetta may be a way for me to get the guys to give sprouts another try…hmmmmm

  7. Julie says:

    This dish looks so delicious! Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. My husband who said brussels sprouts? now loves them.

    These are a perfect addition to Thanksgiving dinner.

    Hope your legs are feeling better!

  8. I think pancetta makes everything taste better! I actually love Brussels sprouts anyway, however, my family insists on my Brussels sprout souffle for Thanksgiving. I think I’ll put some pancetta in the pearl onion side dish that I’m planning on making instead or maybe the green beans, or both 😉

  9. Lea Ann says:

    I actually had b.sprouts in a restaurant this last week and for the first time actually liked them. I’ve had them many times and didn’t. So with all that said, I’m ready to give them another try and this looks wonderful. Beautiful photos Joanne.

  10. Amy says:

    Yes indeed, I am making the Brussels for the big day. But I assure you that Paul and I will be the only ones eating them. That’s okay – more for us!

    Good for you and putting your foot down! Your version sounds fantastic too. What did you decide about the pumpkin cake with butterscotch filling?

  11. Beth says:

    You always have the most intriguing recipes on your blog. I like brussels sprouts but never seem to make them. This should inspire me to do so!

  12. Kim says:

    I’ll have double the servings of brussels sprouts please! This version sounds delicious and looks so appealing. I’ve been seeing so many recipes that call for chestnuts. I’ve got my eyes peeled in hopes that I’ll find some.
    As for SS, I think your fish turned out great and the radicchio looks really pretty. I’m getting ready to make mine for lunch in awhile. I totally missed the part about serving it with the radicchio….whoops! I’m serving mine with his red potatoes with arugula.

  13. There is clearly a brussel sprout bandwagon I need to hop on because these look fantabulous and I want I want!! I remember you telling me about the bacon-wrapped sole. The picture looks yumnmy at the very least.

    I love how I’m on a spree of reading your blog right now and as such I’ve become an early bird on commenting on this post. I am so proud of myself.

    Time to nap. Interviews have drained the life out of me.

  14. Brussel sprouts are one of my favorite things to make this time of year. They already have that subtle nutty flavor to them, so I bet it works wonderfully with chestnuts.

  15. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, These brussel sprouts look so elegant and delish! Your pictures are so professional looking. Have a wonderful Sunday. God Bless you, Catherine

  16. Kristen says:

    Maybe these would convince me to like Brussels sprouts…they sounds good, they look good, I’d like to believe they’d taste good. It’s just so hard to give up not liking them.

  17. Stella says:

    This is all very beautiful food, Joanne! And I got it in my head to make brussels on the big day too now;-) For sure!

  18. Katherine says:

    YUM! I made some really basic brussles sprouts last T-giving (braised in white wine, with parmesan on top) as a “what can I convince my family to eat” dish. My stepdad even said they weren’t terrible (huge compliment) 😛 But he still opted for store-bought pumpkin pie over my homemade one.

  19. sweetlife says:

    Stove top, O loathe that box, hubby grew up eating it every thanksgiving..oh no mister not in my house…I would much rather havre sprouts, and i love your tip on shaving the sprouts..yummy

  20. These look great. I am trying to decide how I am going to serve my BS on T-giving and this may be it!

  21. Swathi says:

    Brussel sprouts looks delicious. I love them. I yet to try chestnut.

  22. I am still to try Brussel sprouts..Can you believe its been over a year in US and I havent tried this veggie as yet! I find them really cute looking at grocery stores, I stop and stare at them, then I cant figure out how to eat them…so I move ahead:)
    They might taste awful in a curry but I think with your recipe n bacon, it might please the taste of the hubster 🙂 Lovey clicks!

  23. Katerina says:

    I love Brussel sprouts. The addition of pancetta and chestnuts is a very interesting idea. I will give it a try. Thank you Joanne for your lovely comment on my blog, I appreciate it.

  24. Jennie says:

    Brussels have got to be one of my favorite veggies! Love what you’ve done with them here.

  25. Last year, I made roasted Brussel sprouts, with bacon. We loved it. The pancetta and chestnuts are a great twist. I hear you on the boxed stuffing. Why? Funny thing is, I’ve never been a fan of Brussel sprouts, but this version would disappear fast.

  26. Julie says:

    seriously what is it about brussel sprouts this year! i just decided the other day that i want to make them as a side dish too! i’m going with a roasted b sprout and apple dish 🙂 mmmmmmm

  27. Daniel says:

    Let’s not exaggerate. Only our stuffing comes from a box. And it’s delightful.

  28. katiez says:

    Brussels sprout season! Yay! I love the little guys. Grew my own one year and harvested them all winter long. I rather like the pancetta and chestnuts, too…..

  29. Shannon says:

    so i can not get bobby’s sprouts out of my head. and i’m not all that crazy about sprouts! must make them soon 🙂

  30. Rachel says:

    I’m a devout brussels sprouts lover but I never get to have them for Thanksgiving. No one else likes them! This time, though, Thanksgiving dinner is mine to plan so maybe I’ll just include some delicious min-cabbages…maybe prepared like this!

  31. Velva says:

    Brussel sprouts grace our table every Thanksgiving. The addition of pancetta is a wonderful addition but, the addition of chestnuts is really fabulous.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  32. teresa says:

    i really want to make brussel sprouts for thanksgiving this year. there is a good chance i’ll be pulling this recipe up when i do! i LOVE that there is pancetta in them!

  33. Ann says:

    I’m actually making Brussels sprouts right now. The house smells a little funky. I hope that they come out half as good as yours look.

  34. I love brussels sprouts and these look wonderful. I’ve only ever had roasted chestnuts once and didn’t really like them – I think you’ve convinced me though that I need to give them another chance.

    BTW, even though you weren’t so fussed, I love the look of that radicchio – I so wish we were able to get that here, but never seem to be able to find it, even when it should be in season.

    Enjoy your thanksgiving.

    Sue 🙂

  35. LimeCake says:

    Poor brussels sprouts. They’re so underappreciated. These look delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!

  36. Chef Dennis says:

    your brussel sprouts look amazing! I can only imagine how delicious they must have been, the pancetta adds so much flavor! Your sole and radicchio look great, but I will trust you if you said you weren’t happy with them.

  37. That Girl says:

    I stood and stared longingly at the brussels sprouts today at the supermarket. Now I’m wishing I had picked them up.

  38. I love how vivid the colors are in this brussels sprouts dish. I enjoy roasted chestnuts too, and I’m glad to hear someone confirm that they are not hard to make!

  39. Victoria says:

    Personally, I love Brussels sprouts! They are made the go with bacon, but I think the chestnuts are a great addition! Well-done 🙂

  40. LOVE Nigella! She could cook cat poop and make it classy! Brussels sprouts with any kind of bacon are to die for. Hope they shine at your dinner!!

  41. Shannon says:

    These look so good. And I’m not a Brussels sprouts fan (mostly because I’ve only ever had the frozen ones my mom used to make). But I would eat almost anything accompanied with pancetta. I’ll have to go grab a bunch when I do my T-Day shopping.

  42. Little Inbox says:

    The local Brussels Sprouts that we have here is in light green. It looks more like little cabbage compare to what you have there.

  43. Great idea to pair Brussels spouts with chestnuts, love that combo!

  44. very healthy and simple to make as well

  45. Debinhawaii says:

    Pancetta and Brussels sprouts are such a great pairing and the home roasted chestnuts just elevates that. I think shredding them is an excellent idea–it seems to get the non-Brussels sprouts people even more. 😉

  46. The only time I use brussels sprouts is when i cook corned beef but i think i will have to introduce my brussel sprouts to pancetta and hoping that corned beef will not get jealous haha… intriguing duo!

  47. Monet says:

    You and Nigella sure know how to make me swoon! These sprouts look and sound amazing! Throw pancetta into about any veggie dish, and I know it is going to be good! Thank you for sharing, love. I hope you have a great week!

  48. Ha ha, thanksgivng is truly so excitn , and im still decidn what more i can add to the menu , though honestly ,all we wud be able to eat is a roast n 2 sides max:-)
    so best is make little little of it all:-)))

    I love u chose brussels , i lve brussels and having been using them in all i do of late:-)
    they are delicious and u have paired them absolutely beautifully!!

  49. Am gng to Side dish showdown too and besides wanna thannk u for ur vote for my Snicker doodle number 21 on this page

    Am 62 now , but still behind coz , the leading is 95:-((
    and another in the 50’s _((

    thannnk u for all the love and support and votes!

  50. Barbara says:

    I have a super brussel sprout recipe…and they are sliced thinly and browned with proscuitto, then baked with a bunch of yummy things like Parmesan, marsala and cream. One of the first recipes I ever posted (0 comments back then) and I have to make it every Thanksgiving without fail.

  51. I’m not sure I can wait for Thanksgiving to have these. We really like brussels sprouts! I have to admit that I don’t know what you mean by “shaving”. I’m off to look that one up!


  52. Seriously – you ALWAYS make me laugh! I feel like I am there listening to you while I read your posts!

    I WISH I could make this dish for Thanksgiving this year – but we are away right now (visiting DH’s family) and none of them would go for these – I on the other hand have been dying to make the brussels sprouts and so just might do it for xmas!

    That Sole looks great too! Happy Thanksgiving!

  53. My favorite veg is sprouts, love the recipe with the chestnuts, going to be so good this weekend.

  54. Faith says:

    Oh wow…roasted chesnuts with brussels sprouts?! I am definitely revising our Thanksgiving menu…and by revising, I basically mean adding another side dish, lol! 😉

  55. I wish I did get some brussels sprouts this morning…looks totally delicious! I probably have to try the port with the recipe as I have no Marsala at home.

  56. Mary says:

    We love Brussels sprouts but are always open for a new recipe. I really appreciated the instructions for roasting chestnuts. That’s one that will really come in handy. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  57. i’m going to email this recipe to my mom. she’ll LOVE it! thanks!

    xo Alison

  58. Hannah says:

    You can hardly wreck Thanksgiving menus by throwing in an even MORE delicious suggestion than originally planned! Sans panchetta, I love the sound of this. I don’t make brussels sprouts nearly enough, and ditto chestnuts. I adore chestnuts and they have such a short season, they always slip by before I can notice. I must try this then!

  59. Pam says:

    My mother ruined brussel sprouts for me… she used to boil them until they were a soggy mess and I just couldn’t stand them. I must admit however that these brussell sprouts are screaming “try me”.

    It’s too bad the bacon wrapped sole didn’t turn out as well as expected… I hate it when that happens.

  60. tigerfish says:

    Love brussel sprouts. They are in my grocery bags every week, currently. And I like that you cook the brussel sprouts color-perfect which means everything to me. Color-perfect means not over- or under-cooking them; also means taste perfect, texture perfect.

  61. Reeni says:

    These would be a huge hit in my family! Dad loves brussels sprouts and mom loves chestnuts! Score. So sorry about the sole – it looks pretty delicious from here!

  62. Love brussels sprouts! And the addition of chestnuts would be delicious!

  63. I have no idea why people don’t like brussel sprouts. I can eat them just boiled with lemon and extra virgin olive oil and I am very happy. These look very sexy though.

  64. RamblingTart says:

    What delicious revenge you’ve cooked up, my friend! 🙂 I am NOT a fan of chestnuts. My experience has been that you pop one in your mouth, take one bite, and instantly all moisture is gone. Gone. Perhaps I will give it another try with your homemade version. 🙂

  65. I’ve also been hearing great things about brussel sprouts on a number of blogs, and now I can’t wait to make them. I still have a childhood hangup that tells me they will be bitter and gross, which will be exciting to overcome.
    On a side note, I tried broiling radicchio once and was very disappointed. It’s one of the few times I’ve actually thrown away something I’ve cooked. Is it supposed to stay so bitter?

  66. Ann says:

    How did this happen? I’m thinking of brussel sprouts for Thanksgiving too! I was going to toss them in flavored butter first (sam’s Club was having a sale on them this weekend, i got some outrageous parmesan/garlic flavored butter) and then roast – but I’m liking your pancetta/bacon idea too!

  67. Pam says:

    These have to be the most attractive Brussels sprouts that I have ever seen!

  68. Brussels sprouts are Mel’s favourite part of the holiday meal too. They look great!
    Sorry you didn’t care for the bacon-wrapped fish – there’s always the next dish! I have my roast defrosting already.

  69. Juliana says:

    Joanne, I am not a big fan of brussel sprouts, but how you prepared it I would love to give a try…love it with chestnut and pancetta…

  70. grace says:

    sing it with me: “chestnuts roasting in a preheated oven…”
    great dish, joanne. 🙂

  71. I only discovered brussels sprouts in the last year or so and have yet to find a recipe I really love. Chestnuts sounds like a great place to start.

  72. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I have never had chestnuts before. I really should try them. They look as though they pair lovely with the brussel sprouts.

  73. I wish my family got more excited about brussels sprouts! Of course, they’d probably LOVE these, but my mom takes serious issue with anyone who messes with her Thanksgiving menu. Argh. Lucky for us, she’s an awesome cook 🙂


  74. Mari says:

    I am yet to make brussels this fall…now I am really craving them lol

    (and THANK YOU for your support this weekend!)

  75. Raina says:

    This definitely beats boxed stuffing any day. Great flavors you have used with the marsala and chestnuts and pancetta. It sounds incredibly delicious. I might even get my kids to eat brussel sprouts this way:)

  76. I have always loved brussel sprouts with bacon or pancetta; what a delicious twist to add some chestnuts to the mix!

  77. PheMom says:

    Your pictures are lovely! I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for your comment on my blog about my son’s ‘Holiday Express’ at school. That really helps! Thank you so much for taking the time to help out!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  78. Absolutely beautiful! Perfect for the holiday!

  79. Bridgett says:

    OOh, definitely delicious. Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

  80. Allison says:

    These look amazing. I <3 Brussels sprouts. I <3 Nigella. What could go wrong? I'm so jealous that you get to bring sprouts to your Thanksgiving table. I travel, so I can only bring sturdy things, like quick breads. Boo.


  82. Natalie says:

    mmmk adding this to my brussels sprouts list. am i the only lame-o with a recipe list for BRUSSELS SPROUTS? 🙂

  83. polwig says:

    Yummy… I usually do brussel sprouts with chestnuts also ;)… this looks so good.

  84. aipi says:

    Happy Thanksgiving !
    I have discovered only recently that brussel sprouts when done right they really taste fabulous..i like your recipe and the combo with chestnuts..will try as hubby is a big fan 🙂

    US Masala

  85. Elizabeth says:

    Good chestnut prep advice, Joanne! Brussels sprouts are among my favorite food, and these look fantastic. Aren’t Thanksgiving veggies the best? Have a great holiday!

  86. naomi says:

    I will take this kind of wrench throwing any day. I love the brussels sprouts paired with chestnuts!

  87. Eliana says:

    Your menu has been planned for months…you’re sucha show off… 😉

  88. Bought my chestnuts last night…will be trying this soon.

  89. theUngourmet says:

    It just so happens I’m in charge of brussel sprouts this year. I would love to try this recipe. My Marsala has been sitting in the fridge since the last time I used it. How long do you think it lasts? It may be too old now. Hmm.

  90. Katy ~ says:

    I have never had a chestnut in my entire life, but I know I love Brussels sprouts. Can’t have them too many ways, and this looks so doggone good, Joanne. Loving it!!

  91. Chris says:

    How the crikey’s sake did I get so far behind on your blog? This was last Sunday. I’M A FREAKING WEEK BEHIND ON JOANNE! BOOOOOO.

    These sprouts are the type of post that has been making me want to try them for the past few months. You already got me to try acorn squash and butternut squash this fall. Might as well succumb to Joanne Peer Pressure:)

  92. […] Three years ago…Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley […]

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