Leaves from a few sprigs of thyme (fresh or dried)
1 clove garlic, crushed
100ml single cream
40g fresh breadcrumbs
25g butter, cold and shaved
100g Comté (aged 12 months), cut into small cubes
An utterly delicious twist on a very festive vegetable, the sprouts are baked with pancetta & thyme and topped with Comté and breadcrumbs.
Steam or boil the sprouts until just tender (for about 10 to 12 minutes). Drain them well and chop them roughly.
Put the pancetta in a heavy pan over a medium heat and cook until the fat has melted and it is starting to brown, then add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the sprouts, stir to mix together and season with salt and pepper. Stir again and cook for a few minutes.
Heat the oven to 180℃ fan / 200℃ normal. Butter a baking dish, add the sprouts, pancetta and two thirds of the Comté and spread the mixture out evenly in the dish. Pour over the cream and then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, butter and remaining cubes of Comté.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the breadcrumbs and Comté are golden, and the cream is bubbling. Leave to sit for 5 minutes before serving.