Saturday, November 5, 2011

It Tastes Like Winter

I think chestnuts are an underutilized nut in the American diet. Previous to this fall, it had been at least two decades since I'd had anything featuring chestnut. Last month, while Donna and I were celebrating our Anniversary down in Williamsburg, we were served a chestnut icecream with our dinner. Tonight, Donna made a brusselsprout (another under-used food) hash for dinner that featured a heavy use of chestnuts.

There's just something nifty about chestnuts. They've got this lovely, delicate, earthy-sweet flavor. It lends itself well to both sweets and to savory food-stuffs.

Tonight's hash was something that Donna just winged. Basically, she took her usual brusselsprout hash, and enhanced it with white wine and chestnuts:

• 10 chestnuts
• 2 pints fresth brussel sprouts (trim, cut in half, then slice thin)
• 6-8oz crimini mushrooms (sliced)
• Penzeys Fox Point seasoning
• dry white wine (recommend a sauvignon blanc)
• extra virgin olive oil
• butter (a good, rich, European-style is best)

Chestnut prep:
  1. Slice an X into the flat side of each chestnut
  2. Scatter nuts onto flat baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes
  3. Let cool enough to handle, then peel.
  4. Chop chestnut meat into crumbles and set aside

Mushroom prep:
  1. Sauté sliced mushrooms in large skillet in a mixture of olive oil and butter
  2. Season with fresh-ground black pepper and liberal dash of Fox Point seasoning as they cook
  3. Cook till browned
  4. Remove mushrooms to bowl and set aside

  1. In same skillet, heat and melt 1Tbsp. of butter and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
  2. Add brussel sprouts and saute till they edges begin to brown (about 8 minutes)
  3. Add half cup of white wine and let cook till wine is mostly gone.
  4. Season to taste with more Fox Point.
  5. Add in chestnuts and mushrooms, stir well and heat through
  6. Serve
The hash worked very well with a nice, rare sirloin (in our household, we generally use bison, but standard beef would likely do, as well. Garnished with some locally-sourced dark cherry tomatoes. Served the meal with red wine (the Vicious Petit Sirah's cranberry notes were a very nice complement both to the hash and to the sirloin).

Brusselsprout/Chestnut Hash with Bison Sirloin

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