Roast Parsnip and Chestnut Crumble on Bubble and Squeak

This dish makes a great alternative vegetarian Christmas lunch that includes all those familiar traditional flavours. It can be eaten on its own, or you can use this recipe as your total accompaniment to roast turkey. It can also be made any time of the year (perhaps leaving out the chestnuts!).

You can buy cooked chestnuts in tins or frozen. If you are using fresh chestnuts in shell, you will need about 223 g (8 oz). Pre-heat the grill. Pierce the chestnuts once with a knife, then grill for about 15 minutes until the skins split. Leave to cool, then peel and chop roughly.

This dish eats very well with cranberry sauce, especially my recipe flavoured with orange and port.

I like to make this in individual moulds, but if you don’t have them, don’t worry. It works just as well and looks really tasty in a large vegetable dish. Just make the bubble and squeak in the traditional way in a large frying-pan, colouring on both sides, and then spooning into the vegetable dish in the same way.

If you have decided to make this in advance and have chilled it before finishing with the crumble, then it’s best to re-heat in the oven for 30 minutes before adding the crumble. Return the dish to the oven or grill until it turns golden brown.

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For the Parsnips

  • 15 g (½ oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1.1 kg ( lb) peeled parsnips, split into quarters lengthways and cored
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon clear honey (optional)

For the Bubble and Squeak

  • 675 g ( lb) Brussels sprouts
  • 50 g (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 675 g ( lb) Mashed Potatoes, made without milk or cream

For the Crumble

  • 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100–175 g (4–6 oz) cooked chestnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 175 g (6 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Watercress sprigs to garnish
  • 1 quantity Vegetable Butter Sauce to serve


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and grease a baking sheet.

Heat the butter and oil in a roasting pan on top of the stove, add the parsnips and fry on a medium heat, turning the parsnips until golden. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to the pre-heated oven and roast for 15–20 minutes. The parsnips will now be deep golden brown and crispy, but almost overcooked and soft inside. While still hot, lightly toss in the honey, if using.

To make the bubble and squeak, cook the sprouts in boiling salted water until tender. Cool and refresh in cold water. Once cold, halve lengthways and slice. In a small pan, melt 25 g (1 oz) of butter and gently cook the onions for 4–5 minutes until softened. Leave to cool. Mix the onions with the sprouts, then add the mashed potatoes a spoonful at a time until a firm texture is achieved. Season with salt and pepper.

If you wish to make these into individual crumbles, grease four to six 10 cm (4 in) pastry cutters and divide the mix between them. Heat the remaining butter in a frying-pan and place the squeaks, still in the cutters, into the pan and fry until golden brown underneath; this will take 4–5 minutes. Once ready, place the moulds on the greased baking sheet, cooked side down. Spoon the cooked parsnips on top of the bubble and squeak, lightly pressing down. You can leave the recipe to cool then chill at this stage and finish before serving.

To make the crumble (almost a Christmas stuffing), heat the butter in a small pan and cook the onion over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes. In a large bowl mix the chestnuts, if using, chopped herbs and crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the onion and butter and mix together.

Sprinkle the crumble mix on top of the warm bubble and squeak and parsnips and place in the pre-heated oven for 10–12 minutes (double the time if it has been chilled). The dish should now be hot all the way through and can be finished under a hot grill until golden and crunchy. Remove the rings, arrange the bubble and squeak on plates, garnish with watercress and serve with the vegetable butter sauce.