“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” Have you ever really tried this? It is such a fun and toasty winter snack. The first time I had ever even seen chestnuts was in college when I spent Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncles house for the first time in Rhode Island. My cousin John brought chestnuts with him every year and insisted that they make a fire in the fireplace, much to my uncle’s chagrin. For some reason I will never understand, he detests fires. But every year we built one anyway, got all snuggled up on the couch, and roasted chestnuts for an after dinner snack. They have a great silky texture and a sweet buttery nutty flavor. They are difficult to peel so when I saw that Trader Joes sold them pre-roasted and pre-peeled I just had to make something with them! My mom had planned a turkey dinner one night during the holidays so I knew this recipe from my favorite food blog would be a great addition.
Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts and Brown Butter (courtesy of SmittenKitchen)
(Difficulty-Easy; Serves 8-10)
2 lbs. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. very thinly sliced shallots
3 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 c. hot chicken or veggie stock
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. roasted, peeled chestnuts, halved
Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil, add brussels sprouts and cook 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring, until light brown. Pour contents of pan through a fine strainer into a dish, pressing to remove as much butter as possible from shallots. Place shallots on paper towel to drain. Return butter to saucepan.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook until butter has a nutty aroma and is turning brown. Whisk in flour and cook until mixture is light brown. Whisk in stock and cook until sauce has thickened. The original recipe calls for chicken stock which I would typically use, but my aunt had made a homemade vegetable stock with some leftover veggies, so I knew that would give my sauce an even bigger flavor. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and nutmeg. At this point you should have a thick gravy-like sauce.
Add chestnuts and brussels sprouts, folding ingredients together. Transfer mixture to a casserole dish. Scatter shallots on top. Bake about 15 minutes.
This dish is the perfect side to a comforting, hearty fall or winter meal.