Chestnuts, speck and brussel sprouts

Neil Perry
A good side: Chestnuts, speck and sprouts.
A good side: Chestnuts, speck and sprouts. Photo: William Meppem

This makes a great side to a chicken main or roast. If you aren't a sprout lover, try the same recipe with green beans; it's awesome, like anything with bacon.


300g raw chestnuts

150g speck

300g brussel sprouts

70g butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

about 1 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp finely shredded flat-leaf parsley leaves



1. Preheat oven to 220C.

2. Using a sharp paring knife, score a cross on the side of each chestnut. Cook in boiling salted water for 10 minutes then drain well. Roast until skins split, about five minutes. Remove and when cool enough to handle, peel off the outer shell and inner skin. Reduce oven to 170C. Place chestnuts back in the oven for eight minutes, until tender.

3. Cut speck into five-millimetre lardons. Take the ends off the sprouts, peel off any brown outer leaves and cut the sprouts in half. Blanch sprouts in boiling salted water for eight minutes, then refresh under cold water. Drain well.

4. Melt 50 grams of butter in a large frypan on a medium heat until butter begins to foam. Add the sprouts with some seasoning and fry until they begin to colour. Remove from the pan and reserve.

5. Place the speck in the pan and render the fat for a few minutes. Once it begins to colour add in the chestnut halves and continue to cook. Add the remaining butter and cook until the chestnuts start to colour, then return the sprouts to the pan. Fry together for a minute then remove from heat. 

6. Finish with lemon juice, check seasoning and fold through parsley. Serve in a large bowl to share at the table.

Serve with Neil's roast chicken.