24 December 2011

Weekend Cooking: Holiday Side Dishes

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


Happy holidays (whichever you celebrate) to all! For me one of the joys of the holidays is cooking for friends and family or enjoying meals prepared by friends and family. One of the tricky parts of putting together a winter meal is coming up with side dishes that use seasonal vegetables. Here are two dishes that often appear on my menu for Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.

This carrot recipe looks very pretty on the table. I serve it in a divided vegetable bowl with a green vegetable or potatoes in the other half. The recipe comes from Art Fare a cookbook put together by the Toledo (Ohio) Museum of Art and is available from their online gift shop.

Black Tie Carrots
Serves 8
  • ½ cup pistachios, shelled
  • 2 tablespoons butter + 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup Cointreau
  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut diagonally into ¼-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons water [you may need to add a bit more if pan begins to look dry]
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Saute the pistachios in 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in the Cointreau. Remove from heat. Combine the carrots, remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium low.

Cook until the carrots are tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer the carrots with a slotted spoon to a heated serving bowl, reserving the cooking liquid. Cover to keep warm.

Bring the reserved cooking liquid to a boil. Boil until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Drizzle of over the carrots. Add the pistachio mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Beth Fish's cook-ahead advice: In step 2, cook the carrots until they are just undercooked. Transfer the carrots and reduce the liquid, as directed. Then add the carrots and the pistachio mixture to the reduced sauce and let sit. A few minutes before serving your meal, heat the carrots and nuts over medium low heat until warmed through and the carrots have finished cooking. Do not let the sauce boil.

We love Brussels sprouts in my house and this dish is one of our favorites. Sometimes I roast the sprouts instead of saute them. Other times I shred them instead of leaving them whole. No matter how they're cooked, the chestnuts add a wonderful dimension. This recipe comes from Ruth Spear's The Classic Vegetable Cookbook.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

serves 6-8
  • 20 ounces Brussels sprouts
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound peeled and braised chestnuts (see recipe below)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Trim, blanch, and refresh the sprouts. Let cool. (Sprouts may be prepared ahead up to this point.) Melt the butter in a saucepan, add sprouts and chestnuts, and shake gently over medium heat until coated and heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Braised Chestnuts
  • 2 cups peeled chestnuts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until chestnuts are tender. Can be prepared ahead.

Beth Fish's tips: I drain the chestnuts before adding them to the Brussels sprouts. You can use canned or jarred chestnuts, roasted chestnuts, or microwave-cooked chestnuts in this recipe with good results.

Sorry that I don't have any photos to accompany this post. But I never take the time to pull out my camera when hungry guests are eagerly gathering around the table.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 12/24/11, 6:48 AM  

Always looking for veggie recipes that are new and different. These sound great!

Happy Holidays.

Michelle 12/24/11, 7:45 AM  

These look like festive additions to an already amazing table you're construting for the holiday. Hope you and Mr. BFR enjoy the weekend!

Amanda 12/24/11, 7:49 AM  

I am just starting to try to eat Brussels sprouts, though Jason has loved them for years. Recently we made them sauteed with bacon, and that was really good. I'm looking forward to trying more ways to eat them!

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 12/24/11, 7:57 AM  

Both dishes sound delicious. I've never cooked with chestnuts but I love them roasted, I think combined with Brussels Sprouts it's a fantastic side dish. I'd love to try this one.
Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

caite 12/24/11, 8:09 AM  

I love the sides! and I love carrots...and Brussels sprouts... yum

Alex 12/24/11, 8:14 AM  

I don't like carrots, but Black Tie Carrots sound good even to me. I want to try them now, thanks for the recipe.

Ironically, I am have Brussels sprouts and chestnuts tonight and they are delicious.

Looks like a great book

Happy Holidays and thank you for hosting Weekend Cooking, a meme I really enjoy reading and participating in.

caite 12/24/11, 8:19 AM  

"Chestnuts roasting in the microwave...."

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 12/24/11, 8:31 AM  

The Brussels sprouts would be a tough sell in my house, but that carrot side dish sounds divine!

bermudaonion 12/24/11, 8:38 AM  

Those both sound delicious to me!!

Col (Col Reads) 12/24/11, 8:51 AM  

The carrots sound outstanding. Thanks!

Beth 12/24/11, 8:51 AM  

Those carrots sound amazing!!

TheBookGirl 12/24/11, 9:11 AM  

I never thought of adding chestnuts to brussel sprouts, but I definitely want to try that! Right now, I am sipping a cup of chestnut tea and loving the taste :)

Carrots are one of the vegetables that my veggie-phobic family will happily consume.

Beth S. 12/24/11, 10:52 AM  

As much as a I call myself a foodie, I have yet to make brussels sprouts. I need to remedy this soon. I want to make them with bacon, because if you know my obsession with bacon, then you know if bacon can't make them delicious, then nothing will. :p

Memory 12/24/11, 11:06 AM  

I've been wanting to try brussel sprouts, after a lifetime of refusing to eat them based on their resemblance to cabbage. This recipe sounds like it could be a good place to start.

I'm not a fan of cooked carrots, myself, but my mother makes them often. I'll pass the carrot recipe along to her, as it seems like something she'd enjoy.

Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post 12/24/11, 11:23 AM  

how elegant they both sound! I however cannot eat brussel sprouts and go out in public :)
Merry Christmas everyone!

Heather 12/24/11, 11:23 AM  

Both those veggies dishes sound tasty. Today I have posted a link to my Holiday Baking Party from yesterday. It is posted in 4 parts at present, but will add the 5th once I cut and display all the baking.

Beth Hoffman 12/24/11, 11:44 AM  

Black Tie Carrots? I'm in! So often I'm at a loss for side dishes and this book sounds like a must-have.

Joyous holidays to you and yours, Candace!

Uniflame 12/24/11, 12:21 PM  

How fun that we both post on side dishes this week :) Your carrot recipe sounds great :)

Margot 12/24/11, 12:57 PM  

I'm taking a couple of weeks off from food posting but I just had to come by and see what you had going. Those carrots look terrific. My husband loves Brusels Sprouts so I may try that. Happy holidays to you Candace. Hope everything at your house is merry and bright.

Darlene 12/24/11, 4:27 PM  

Just stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year Candace!

Daliana Pacuraru 12/25/11, 6:58 AM  

May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you now and throughout the new year.

Esme 12/25/11, 11:34 AM  

Merry Christmas-Beth. I forgot all about Weekend Cooking yesterday.

Heidenkind 12/25/11, 5:14 PM  

These recipes sound so good! Carrots with Cointreau? Genius!

BookGeek 12/25/11, 6:12 PM  

Brussel sprouts and chestnuts sounds great! Nice holiday idea.

Daryl 12/26/11, 7:40 AM  

All I did all weekend was eat ...

Daryl 12/26/11, 7:43 AM  

oops .. I was going to say my least favorite brussel sprouts were the frozen sprouts my sister made with about a ton of salt ...

Julie P. 12/26/11, 12:23 PM  

Not a huge cooked carrot fan, but this recipe made me think of a friend's favorite carrot recipe -- carrots with kahlua and butter.

Tina 6/15/13, 7:21 AM  

My husband will not eat Brussels sprouts, but those carrots...wow. Glad you posted a link to it as I was not acquainted with you in 2011 :-)

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