Brussels Sprouts with Glazed Chestnuts
Like many members of the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts are best harvested after a frost. And like other cabbages, they become unpleasantly mushy when overcooked. But blanched until just tender-crisp, and paired with the sweetness of glazed chestnuts, they are irresistible. For a change in texture and presentation, you can peel away the individual leaves from the sprouts (a rather painstaking exercise) or slice, quarter, or chop them.
- Serves: 6
- Course: Snack
- 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed (1 kg)
- 2 tbsp butter (30 ml)
- Glazed chestnuts (recipe follows)
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 12 whole chestnuts
- 2 tbsp butter (30 ml)
- 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup (15 ml)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (125 ml)
- Pinch of kosher or sea salt
Brussels SproutsWith a paring knife, cut an X about 1/2" (1 cm) deep into stem end of each Brussels sprout. In a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, blanch sprouts until tender but still crisp, 4–6 minutes depending on size. Drain. Plunge sprouts into ice water to stop cooking and drain well.
- Just before serving time, melt butter in a large frying pan over moderately high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and toss to heat through, 3–5 minutes. Toss in hot glazed chestnuts and season to taste.
- Tip: If you cut the sprouts into smaller pieces, reduce blanching time accordingly—about 1 1/2 minutes for quartered sprouts, 45 seconds for individual leaves. Depending on thickness, slices need hardly any cooking at all—if they’re thin, you can skip ahead to Step 2 and they’ll cook in the hot butter.
Glazed ChestnutsTo roast chestnuts, preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). With a sharp knife, cut an X in the rounded side of each nut. Place on a cookie sheet, cut-side up, and roast until cut shells start to curl, about 20 minutes. Wrap chestnuts in a kitchen towel and squeeze gently to further release shells. Let rest for 5 minutes before peeling shells and rubbing off papery skin underneath.
- Melt butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add chestnuts, sugar or maple syrup, and chicken stock. Swirl pan over heat until liquid has evaporated and chestnuts are evenly glazed, 3–5 minutes. Season with a little salt.
- Tip: At the grocery store, choose chestnuts with healthy, undamaged shells with no holes. It’s a good idea to roast a few extra—occasionally a chestnut will have mushy or black spots inside, which can affect its flavour.