Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts

Kid Rating:  2 out of 3 really like it (the third needs time to get used to it)
Do Again?  Yes, but maybe without the chestnuts

This recipe is adapted from my antique cookbook.  I had purchased chestnuts at two different times, the second because I thought I could use a little more.  I stored them two separate ways.  Apparently, one of the ways was the wrong way, but I didn't know this until after I cooked them together and half the batch showed spoilage upon opening them.  Here is a link on how to store chestnuts:  click here.

There aren't as many steps as I make it look like; I just really spell them out.

Brussels sprouts
salt water (*recipe for a brine solution on bottom)
salt (I used Kosher)

Step 1A - Chestnuts -- This could also be a do-ahead step but within 24 hours.
Put chestnuts in pot of cold water.
Bring to boil (it took mine 10-15 min) - (Start Step 1B while waiting for it to boil)
Boil 5 min. (Shell should be soft).
Cut and pull apart.  I cut mine in quarters to make it easier to pull nut out.

Step 1B - Brussels Sprouts
Trim stem to base.
Pull off wilted/yellowed leaves.
Cut "X" on bottom 1/2 inch deep.
   ....screeeeeetch -- stop -- that's what I started to do.  The "X" may be good enough for small Brussel sprouts, but I was cooking large ones this time.  So, I changed my mind.  Experience tells me to cut them in half instead.
Cut large sprouts in half.
Soak in salted water* for 10 minutes. (Start another pot of water boiling).
Drain sprouts from salted water.
Put sprouts into boiling water, return to boiling and boil 10 minutes.

Step 2
Pre-heat to a "moderate" oven, which I interpreted as 300 degrees F (love these old cookbooks).
Spray baking dish with cooking spray or just rub vegetable oil on bottom of dish.
Layer dish with a portion of Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, dot with butter, salt and pepper.
Repeat with more layers.  (I only had enough for 2 layers).
Put a 1/4 cup of water into dish to "moisten."
Bake 30 minutes uncovered.

Chestnuts boiling on an open fire.
1/2 inch deep "X" -- better for smaller sprouts
Cut larger sprouts in half.
Soak in salt water*
Cut chestnut shells in halves or quarters to open
and peel.
Chestnuts.  It should have been twice as much.
Live and learn.
First layer.
Second layer.
I'll use a smaller dish next time.
Add 1/4 cup of water.
30 minutes later.
*Brine Solution - 1 Quart
I keep 1-2 quarts of brine (salt water) solution on hand in the refrigerator.  I use it as a marinade for meat to keep the meat from drying out during the cooking process.  The salt helps draw the water into the muscle cells while marinating.  Anyway, when the cookbook asked for salt water for the sprouts, it didn't give a ratio.  So, I just used the brine solution, and it worked out nicely.

Boil about 1-2 cups of water.
Add 1/4 cup of salt.
Stir until dissolved.
Pour into cold water so the combination equals 1 quart (=4cups).

Family Review:
11 y.o. -- Brussels sprouts were good, not crazy about the nuts.
9 y.o. -- "I LOVE Brussels sprouts!  The nuts are okay."
5 y.o. -- (Not used to it, yet.  Hates it before trying it.  Determined to continue hating it.)
Hubby -- "Best you've made so far.  They don't smell like Brussels sprouts.  Juicy, not too strong."
Me -- I liked them a lot.  Some of the nuts were really good, others not so much.  That could be from my poor storage although I thought I tossed all the bad ones.

I'll definitely make the sprouts this way again and will try the chestnuts with them next holiday season.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really good! I just threw out a bunch of chestnuts b/c I couldn't figure out what to do with them. I know. Terrible. Too bad I didn't come across your post sooner!