1 pint chestnuts (jarred or frozen)
1 cup diced butter
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
1 quart Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 cup Madeira
½ cup minced thyme
Zest of 2 lemons
1. If the chestnuts are frozen, allow them to thaw before beginning: Place in a single layer on a sheet tray and leave at room temperature until thawed.
2. Heat a large sauté pan or wide saucepot (either way, be sure the pan has short sides to allow evaporation) over medium heat. Add half the butter and allow to froth and turn brown. Add the whole chestnuts and roll in the browning butter continuously until browned on all sides.
3. Add shallots and allow them to caramelize. Once the shallots are a deep, dark gold, add the Brussels sprouts and allow them to brown, then add salt to taste.
4. Once the sprouts have some color, add the Madeira and steam the vegetables as the wine reduces. When the wine becomes syrupy and viscous, remove the pan from direct heat. Little by little, add remaining butter and stir to create a light pan sauce. Just before serving, sprinkle in the thyme and lemon to allow them to bloom and be at their freshest. If the sauce reduces too much and you have a pan of greasy vegetables, simply add a splash more Madeira, water, or stock. Stir quickly and the sauce will come back to life. Season with salt to taste.
– From Charles Parker, Talula's Garden