Chestnuts may be best known locally as street-cart bait for Fifth Avenue holiday shoppers, and for the extra-starchy boost they give to Thanksgiving stuffing, but those are far from the only ways to go. Take, for instance, this simple but delicious side dish from SD26 chef Odette Fada. Although it’s the perfect autumnal accompaniment to pan-roasted chicken or guinea hen, it’s so good you may find yourself eating it straight from the skillet.
4 leeks, washed and trimmed
1 tbs. whole black peppercorns
White-wine vinegar, as needed
4 ounces butter
(1) With a paring knife, carve an x in the
flat side of each chestnut to facilitate peeling. In a pot, boil
chestnuts in salted water for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, depending
on size. Drain and (2) remove shells and inner peels.
In a large pot, bring enough water to cover the leeks to a boil. Add
salt, peppercorns, and approximately 2 ounces of vinegar per quart of
water, then add leeks. Cook leeks until tender, approximately 10
minutes, and remove from pot. Cut leeks into 2-inch segments. In a
sauté pan, melt the butter, and (3) add the chestnuts and leeks. Sauté until warm.