- 50g unsalted butter
- 400g raw peeled chestnut (or frozen raw peeled chestnuts, defrosted)
'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...' that kitsch old Nat King Cole song perfectly…
- 1 celery stick, cut into 1cm/½ in slices
- 1 Braeburn apple (about 100g/4oz), skin on, cored and cut into 8 segments
- 100ml water (or light chicken stock)
- 2 tsp golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 400g Brussels sprouts
The quintessential Christmas dinner veg, Brussels sprouts are throught to have been cultivated…
Heat the butter in a medium saucepan on a low heat. Add the chestnuts, celery and apple, and cook gently for 4 mins. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and season with 1 tsp fine sea salt, 2 pinches freshly ground white pepper, the sugar and lemon juice. Cover and cook on a low heat (so that the bubbles are just breaking the surface) for 20-25 mins until soft and melting.
Meanwhile, blanch the sprouts in boiling salted water for 6 mins, then drain well. Add the sprouts to the chestnut pan, sizzle for 5 mins, then tip into a serving dish.
A quick way to peel chestnuts is to score across the base but be careful not to cut too deep into the flesh. Deep-fry at 180C for 45 secs and, wearing washing up gloves, peel while hot – the steam trapped in the shell loosens the inner membrane, which makes it easier to remove.
Boost the flavour
The best chestnuts are those you prepare from raw. The result here will be sweet and melting, with a fabulous flavour. Removing the shell and the inner membrane can be time consuming but it’s worth the effort.
The chestnuts can be cooked two days in advance, reserved in the stock and reheated, and the Brussels sprouts added when required.