Braised Chestnuts and Pearl Onions combine beautifully to create a Thanksgiving chestnut side dish that will totally wow your guests! And it's also fantastic any time mixed into pasta, to serve over bread, and to make a tart with.
Let's throw something new on the Thanksgiving menu.
Full of deep, rich flavors, this pearl onion chestnut side dish is unexpected, seasonal, beautiful and so delicious!
Of course it's not just for Thanksgiving. You can serve this any time!
- Mix it into pasta.
- Serve it over rice or on a lovely slice of crusty bread.
- Make a tart with it (with puff pastry it would be excellent).
Can you make is ahead?
Yes! You can make this up to three days ahead of time and warm it on the stove before serving.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- Peeling chestnuts and pearl onions can be daunting if you haven't done it before. You can learn how to peel pearl onions here and peel (and roast) chestnuts here. Both are much easier than you might think.
- I love using chestnuts I've roasted, but you can also use steamed chestnuts, which are commonly sold in the fall and winter months. Follow the same instructions for adding them to the recipe.
- Peeled pearl onions are often available in the freezer section of most markets. If you're very pressed for time, that's an option.
- You'll likely see red, white and yellow/golden pearl onions in stores. Use whichever ones you like. I think the red really makes this a beautiful dish.
- You should easily find pearl onions in November and December, but if for some reason you can't get them, use shallots, cut into quarters.
I hope you and your guests love this amazing chestnut side dish as much as my family and I do!
You can find more Thanksgiving recipes here.
More recipes with chestnuts and/or pearl onions:
- Chestnut Butter
- Potato Chestnut Soup
- Chestnut Cookies with Chocolate Chips
- French Onion Mushroom Casserole
Braised Chestnuts and Pearl Onions
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound roasted and peeled chestnuts (click here for how to roast and peel chestnuts)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, if necessary (see recipe instruction no. 2)
- 1 pound red pearl onions, peeled
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- ¾ cup vegetable stock
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup roasted pecans, roughly chopped
- ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
- salt, pepper and sugar to taste
- Brown the chestnuts. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to a large pot fitted with a lid (a Dutch oven is perfect). Over medium heat, melt the butter to coat the bottom of the pot. Over medium-high heat, add the roasted, peeled chestnuts and sauté them until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onions. Add the peeled pearl onions and stir to combine. If the bottom of the pan is dry, add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté for another 5 minutes or so, until the onions are slightly tender and golden brown.
- Add thyme and liquids and simmer. Add the thyme, stock, and red wine and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the liquid. Remove the lid, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook to reduce the liquid until all but about 3 tablespoons remain, about 20 minutes. (Gently stir the mixture from time to time during the cooking process. Cooking times may vary.)
- Add remaining ingredients. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, pecans, sugar, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve!
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