Thanksgiving Sides: Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl Onions

Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl OnionsOne of my favorite food memories is when I’d open the front door to my house and immediately take in the incredible aroma of my mom sautéing onions.

Seems like she was always sautéing onions.  They would go in almost everything she cooked.  They still do.

My mom orders, “double onion” on pizza, chicken Tikka, fajitas, you name it, the list goes on.

Around Thanksgiving the onion-sautéing would go on for days — most of them would go in her famous Thanksgiving stuffing, and some was always saved to go on everything else.

I think memories like this are why I’ve always loved cooking so much, and why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl OnionsPlease, take a moment, whenever you’re cooking to see the beauty in your ingredients.  I think these red pearl onions are gorgeous.

Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl Onions is a Thanksgiving side dish full of deep, rich, delicious flavors — it’s absolutely perfect next slices of turkey on your plate!

Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl OnionsWhat are your favorite food memories from this food filled holiday?  Tell me in the comments — I’d love to know.

P.S. More Friday Flowers coming soon! 

Red Wine Braised Chestnuts and Pearl Onions
Please read the notes below the recipe before you begin!
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • ¾-pound roasted and peeled chestnuts (here's How to Toast and Peel Chestnuts)
  • 1-pound red pearl onions, peeled (here's How to Peel Pearl Onions)
  • Leaves from about 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped roasted pecans
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black paper to taste
  1. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to a large oven proof pot fitted with a lid (a Dutch oven is perfect). Over medium heat, melt the butter to coat the bottom of the pot.
  2. Over medium-high heat, add the roasted, peeled chestnuts and sauté them until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the peeled pearl onions and stir to coat them with the butter and chestnuts. Sauté for another 5 minutes or so, until the onions are slightly tender and golden brown.
  4. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and red wine and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook to reduce the liquid until all but about 3 tablespoons remain, about 30 minutes. (Gently stir the mixture from time to time during the cooking process.)
  6. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, sugar, pecans, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For detailed, step by step instructions and photographs of how to roast and peel chestnuts, click here.

For detailed, step by step instructions and photographs of how to peel pearl onions, click here.

Please note that the time listed above does not include roasting and peeling the chestnuts, or peeling the pearl onions. To save time you can purchase Melissa's Whole Peeled and Cooked chestnuts. (I've tasted Melissa's chestnuts and I know they're very good -- there are others available, which I haven't tried, but they might be good too.) You can find the Melissa's Produce Chestnuts at Gelson's, Trader Joe's, Bristol Farms, & Whole Foods, among other stores.

For a vegetarian version, simply use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Serves 8

Love chestnuts?  You’ll love these recipes, too:
Cream of Chestnut Potato Soup
Chestnut Chocolate Chip Cookies {Gluten-Free Recipe}



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  1. says

    That is very interesting one. We use chestnuts in Turkey but never saw it sauteed with onions. Beautiful looking dish.
    Memories are always about eating around a big dinner table with the family for me. Miss that the most!

  2. says

    I know it may sound crazy but I don’t think I’ve ever had chestnuts… I wish this was a holiday tradition in my in-laws home, unlike the green bean casserole 🙂 I’ll take the double onions too!

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