Joan Nathan:

Chestnuts with Onions and Prunes

This is one of my favorite dishes to serve for Thanksgiving. My family loves it, especially my mother who has always adored chestnuts. 

  • 1 pound canned, bottled, or fresh peeled chestnuts
  • 1 pound pitted prunes
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place the chestnuts and the prunes in a large pan in a single layer. Add water to just cover and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, cool, and halve both the chestnuts and the prunes.

2. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the oil or butter in a frying pan until golden.

3. Add the 4 remaining tablespoons of sugar to the onions, as well as salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, the lemon juice or vinegar, and the cinnamon. Then stir in the chestnuts and prunes, and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Note:  To prepare fresh chestnuts, freeze them for 24 hours. Pour boiling water over them and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, shell and skin them.