Enjoy this festive side dish from Yotam Ottolenghi’s new book, Flavour
Something magical happens to the sprouts, chestnuts and grapes when they are left to soak with each other in a bath of Shaoxing, soy sauce and their own natural juices. A subtle sharp sweetness, with hints of bitterness, gradually emerges, giving the dish a real festive quality. It’s Shaoxing rice wine that makes the greatest impact with its complex sweetness and depth. This Chinese wine, fermented from rice, is available in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can’t get hold of it, use pale dry sherry instead.
The sprouts and chestnuts make this dish an obvious candidate for a Christmas feast. Luckily, you can easily get ahead by cooking the shallots, garlic, chestnuts and grapes the day before and leaving them to sit in the liquids overnight (refrigerated). The Brussel sprouts should be roasted and added to the bath the day you plan to serve the dish. Hold off on adding the pickled chillies and parsley until you serve.
- Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage (Ebury Press). Photography Jonathan Lovekin
Serves Four as a side dish
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
250g of ready-cooked and peeled chestnuts
4 bay leaves
1tbsp of maple syrup
130ml of olive oil
90ml of Shaoxing rice wine (or pale dry sherry)
180g of red grapes
800g of Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthways
2 green chillies, finely sliced into rounds
2tbsp of rice vinegar
1tsp of caster sugar
3tbsp of picked parsley leaves
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan.
Put the first five ingredients into a large 34cm x 26cm high-sided roasting tin with 100ml of the oil, 75ml of the Shaoxing rice wine and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 35 minutes, until the shallots are soft but still hold their shape. Stir in the grapes, cover again with foil and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove the roasting tin from the oven, take off the foil and set the tin aside while you prepare the sprouts. Increase the temperature to 220°C fan.
Mix the sprouts with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt, then spread out on two parchment-lined baking trays. Roast for 16 minutes, switching the trays halfway through, until the sprouts are browned.
Add the sprouts to the tin of grapes and chestnuts, gently mix everything together and leave, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour, if you can, or at least 30 minutes, for the flavours to develop.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix the chillies with the rice vinegar, sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of salt and leave to pickle for at least 30 minutes.
Once the Brussel sprouts have sat for a while, stir in the remaining tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine and the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir through the parsley and transfer to a large, shallow serving bowl.
Top with the pickled chillies and the pickling liquid and serve.