French Recipe: Festive Brussels Sprouts (Choux de Bruxelles Braisées)
In this recipe Brussels sprouts are braised with chestnuts, which are very popular in France.
- 225 g/½ lb chestnuts
- 125 ml/4 fl oz / ½ cup milk
- 550 g/1 /4 lb/4 cups small tender Brussels sprouts
- 30 g/1 oz/2 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp dry white wine or water
- Using a small knife, score a cross in the base of each chestnut. Over a medium-high heat, bring a saucepan of water to the boil, drop in the chestnuts and boil for 6—8 minutes. Reinove the pan from heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove a few chestnuts, leaving the others immersed in water until ready to peel. Holding them in a tea towel, remove the outer shell with a knife and then peel off the inner skin.
- Rinse the pan, return the peeled chestnuts to it and add the milk. Top up with enough water to completely cover the chestnuts. Simmer over a medium heat for 12—15 minutes until the chestnuts are just tender. Drain and set aside.
- Remove any wilted or yellow leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Trim the root end but leave intact or the leaves will separate. Using a small knife, score a cross in the base of each sprout so they cook evenly.
- In a large heavy frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the chopped shallot and cook for 1—2 minutes until just softened, then add the Brussels sprouts and wine or water. Cook, covered, over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, shaking the pan and stirring occasionally, adding a little more water if necessary.
- Add the poached chestnuts and toss gently to combine, then cover and cook for 3-5 minutes more until the chestnuts and Brussels sprouts are tender. #Cook’s Tip# Fresh chestnuts have a wonderful texture and flavour, but bottled or canned unsweetened whole chestnuts make an adequate substitute. They are available in delicatessens and some large supermarkets.