Brussel Sprouts with Braised Chestnuts
Serves 4 to 6
For the blanched brussel sprouts:
1 pound brussel sprouts
6 quarts rapidly boiling water
3 tablespoons salt
1 Plunge the sprouts into the rapidly boiling water, then boil slowly, uncovered. In 4 minutes, begin testing. Take out a brussel sprout to taste; it should be cooked but have a slight crunch. Drain immediately.
2 Plunge the vegetables into icy cold water to stop the cooking and set the color and texture. Drain when cold, in 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
For the braised chestnuts:
1 pound fresh chestnuts
1 stalk rosemary, stripped
1 medium onion, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1-1/2 cups stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 Place the chestnuts flat side down on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut a deep score in the shape of an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. Place the nuts in a bowl of hot water for 1 minute. Tear a generous length of aluminum foil and place the chestnuts in a single layer. Fold the edges to form a packet with a small opening on top (while still keeping the nuts in a single layer). Place the packet on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges of the chestnut shells noticeably curl up, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and peel off the shell and the skin at the X. (A paring knife can help.) Do this quickly as the shells are harder to peel when cold. Reheat any nuts that are hard to peel and try again.
2 Place the chestnuts in a saucepan with the rosemary, onion, celery, and stock. Salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer -- watch that the liquid does not boil and break down the chestnuts. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the chestnuts are tender and everything is warm.
3 Drain the chestnuts, reserving the liquid.
4 Boil down the cooking liquid in a sauce pan until almost syrupy. Add sauce to the chestnuts and brussel sprouts. Reheat everything together. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Top with melted butter. Serve warm.
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