When I was little, my granny always made bacon-wrapped water chestnuts for Christmas. As she got older, it became too difficult for her to make them so my mum took on the job. It’s one of the few Christmas traditions we have. They are my Christmas obsession and, hopefully, they will be yours too.
Water chestnuts don’t really taste of much, they’re there more for texture and they take on flavours really well. Even though you might not have heard of them, they are surprisingly easy to find. We get them at our local Tesco but most supermarkets carry them. You can also find them at most Asian supermarkets.
Depending on where you get them from, your water chestnuts will either be whole or sliced. If they are whole, cut them in half across its widest part (usually horizontally across the middle). If they come in slices you’ll want to use a couple of them at a time.
It’s best to marinate them overnight but if you don’t have time you can leave them for a few hours instead.
You can make them ahead of time and reheat them just before you serve them.
- 1 big can, or two small cans, of water chesnuts, drained
- 2 packs streaky bacon, cut into strips just big enough to wrap around the water chestnuts
- Brown sugar
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup neutral oil (vegetable oil, groundnut or sunflower oil all work well)
- 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon vinigar
- 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the over to 180 C.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade and add the chestnuts. Leave to marinade over night, or for a few hours if you are pushed for time.
- Wrap the marinated chestnuts in bacon, securing them in place with a wooden toothpick (do not use plastic ones).
- Lightly roll them in the brown sugar.
- Place them on a baking tray and brush or spoon the remaining marinade on top.
- Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes (with the toothpicks still in, they wont burn. Just make sure the toothpicks are wooden and not plastic).
- If reheating them, just cook until they are hot.
Featured image credit: Jones Farm