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Braised Chestnuts with Madeira Cream Sauce

Braised Chestnuts with Madeira Cream Sauce
To prepare fresh chestnuts, with a sharp knife, score a shallow X across the flat side of each chestnut, cutting all the way through to the meat. Soak in cold water to cover for 15 minutes, drain and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven, stirring once or twice, until the peels have curled open along the cut marks and the nuts give slightly when pressed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove the outer and inner peels.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1⁄2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean,
      stems removed and caps quartered
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into
      1-inch pieces
  • 1⁄3 cup minced shallot
  • 1 1⁄4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned
      chicken broth
  • 3⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbs. medium-dry Madeira wine
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1⁄2 lb. fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled,
     or 3 cups purchased steamed chestnuts
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, melt 4 Tbs. of the butter. Add the mushrooms and the 1/2 tsp. salt, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Return the fry pan to medium heat and melt the remaining 4 Tbs. butter. Add the carrots, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 15 minutes; do not let the butter brown. Add the shallot, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock, the 3/4 cup Madeira and the mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring once or twice, until the carrots are almost tender, about 12 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir the 2 Tbs. Madeira into the cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the slurry and the cream to the fry pan. Scatter the chestnuts over the mushrooms and carrots. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Season generously with pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt.

Fold the chestnuts into the sauce, breaking them up as little as possible. Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Thanksgiving, by Michael McLaughlin (Simon & Schuster, 2001).