When the holiday table is groaning under the weight of heavy cream, loads of cheese, bountiful bacon, enormous hunks of meat and other heavy fare, a veggie side dish that’s simple — and simply adorned — always offers a welcome relief.
Such is the case with “Buttered Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts” from the new cookbook, “Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden” (Running Press), of which I recently received a review copy.
Ogden, co-founder of San Francisco’s Lark Creek Restaurant Group, offers up 150 recipes perfect for the big winter holidays.
This dish is beautiful to behold all on its own, what with the plump, whole chestnuts peeking through a bowl of green. Brussels sprouts are blanched, then put into an ice water bath to ensure their hue stays vivid, too. Then, they are tossed in a hot saute pan with chestnuts that have been roasted and shelled, as well as a knob of butter, and salt and pepper. That’s it.
It’s a dish that lets the purity of the cabbage-like sprouts shine through. The chestnuts add a festive touch with their distinctive look and sweet starchy, nutty flavor. The butter gives everything a subtle gloss.
Best yet, you can prepare the chestnuts and Brussels sprouts ahead of time (keep the sprouts refrigerated until needed), then combine them all in a pan in a flash just before serving.
Buttered Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, any yellow outer leaves removed, and cut in half from top to bottom
3/4 cup of water
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
24 whole chestnuts, roasted and peeled (see note below)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large bowl half full of ice and water; set aside.
Place Brussels sprouts, 3/4 cup water and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan over high heat. Cover, and cook until Brussels sprouts are tender and a knife can easily be inserted, about 5 minutes. Remove Brussels sprouts from heat, drain, and immediately transfer into the bowl of ice water. When Brussels sprouts are cool to the touch, about 2 minutes, remove them from the water, drain thoroughly, and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, place butter, chestnuts, and 1/4 cup of water, cook for 3 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and pepper, continue to cook until they are heated through.
Note: To roast chestnuts, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut an “X” through the flat side of each chestnut shell with a sharp knife; do not skip this step as allows steam to escape while chestnuts are cooking, preventing them from exploding in the oven. Spread chestnuts X-side up on a rimmed baking pan; add 1/4 cup water to the pan and bake until shells peel back and the flesh is golden, about 20 minutes; stirring once. Remove chestnuts from oven; shell and peel them while they are still warm.
From “Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden” by Bradley Ogden with Lydia Scott
More Bradley Ogden Recipes: Fabulous Butterscotch Pudding
Plus My Brussels Sprouts Recipe: Chinese-Style Brussels Sprouts with Hoisin Glaze