Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts in Brown Butter

The Gluten-Free Version. (2011 edit: I’m not sure if chestnuts qualify as Paleo but in my mind they should be fine in moderation.)

When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I just knew I had to make it for Thanksgiving. The first time I had brown butter sauce at a fancy restaurant, I was hooked. The flavor of good brown butter sauce is, in my opinion, one of the best flavors there is.

I wanted to make the recipe gluten-free, as well as remedy the problems that Deb reported with the recipe, mostly that there was more sauce than there should have been. To achieve those two things I decided to replace the flour with cornstarch, and to reduce the amount of broth, as well as watch the broth as I added it to make sure it thickened the way I wanted it to. I also just got lazy about the chestnuts, and didn’t use the fresh ones I’d bought, but tried out a can of French chestnuts in water, to see how they worked out. Also, Whole Foods was out of shallots the night before Thanksgiving, so I tried Cipollini onions.

The result was quite good. I overdid the cornstarch a little, resulting in a the brown butter flavor getting a bit obscured, and the canned chestnuts were OK, but I’d go to the effort of prepping the fresh ones next time. The Cipollini onions were perfect, and the brown butter flavor was oh so delicious.

See the last couple of posts for a picture of the Thanksgiving meal on the plate.

Here’s the recipe, as I made it.

  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 very thinly sliced cipollini onions
  • 1 T. cornstarch, mixed with a few T. warm stock (or Arrowroot powder for a Paleo sub)
  • 1-1 1/2 C. hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1 C. roasted, peeled chestnuts, broken into pieces.

Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil, add brussels sprouts and cook 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Add cipollini onions and cook over medium heat, stirring, until light brown. Pour contents of pan through a fine strainer into a dish, pressing to remove as much butter as possible from the onions. Place onions on paper towel to drain. Return butter to saucepan.

If serving immediately, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook until butter has a nutty aroma and is turning brown. Whisk in cornstarch and water mixture and cook until mixture is light brown. Whisk in stock and cook until sauce has thickened. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and nutmeg. Add chestnuts and brussels sprouts, folding ingredients together.

Transfer to an 8-cup baking dish. Scatter onions on top. Bake about 15 minutes. Serve.

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