Marrons Braisés (Whole Braised Chestnuts)
These chestnuts make a fabulous garnish or accompaniment to a roast duck or goose. Try to find fresh chestnuts for this recipe- look for heavy chestnuts with tight-fitting shells (these will be the freshest and have the best flavor). While it does take some time to shell and peel fresh chestnuts, it is worth the effort. To make the task faster and easier, cut a 1/8″ wide strip off of the outer shell of each chestnut, then boil for about one minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove chestnuts from water three at a time, and peel off the shell and bitter inner skin. Don’t let the chestnuts get cold- it will make peeling more difficult. If any chestnuts prove difficult to peel, set them aside and then boil again for a moment, and then peel one by one. (Excerpted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck with permission from Alfred A. Knopf. All rights reserved.)
- 24 peeled chestnuts
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch mixed to a paste with
- 2 tablespoons port, Madeira, or water
- 2 cups good brown stock or 1½ cups canned beef bouillon and ½ cup water
- Water, if necessary
- 3 tablespoons butter
A heavy, fireproof casserole or baking dish just large enough to hold the chestnuts in one layer
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place the chestnuts in the casserole or baking dish. Beat the starch mixture into the stock or bouillon and pour over the chestnuts. There should be enough liquid to cover them by ½ inch add water, if necessary. Add the butter. Bring to the simmer, cover, then set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 45 to 60 minutes or until chestnuts are tender.
If not to be served immediately, set aside uncovered. Cover and reheat slowly on top of stove before proceeding.
If liquid has not reduced to a syrupy glaze at the end of the cooking, drain it off and boil it down in a saucepan. Pour it back into the casserole and roll the chestnuts gently around in it to cover them with the glaze. Serve sprinkled with parsley, or combined with other vegetables as directed in whatever recipe you are using.
last updated August 17, 2023