French Beans and Chestnuts

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FRENCH BEANS WITH GLAZED CHESTNUTS (French Canadian, for four)

1 pound French beans, washed and drained, ends snapped off

1/3 cup shallot, finely chopped

4 tablespoons butter

one 14 to 15 ounce jar whole roasted chestnuts

½ cup chicken stock

¼ cup Canadian whiskey

1 tablespoon maple syrup

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Drop the beans into rapidly boiling, salted water. Cover briefly, to bring the water quickly back to a boil, then immediately remove the cover. Boil uncovered until the beans are just cooked through but retain a slight crunch of texture –4 to 5 minutes. Test by eating several. Drain the beans immediately when they are done and run them under cold water or plunge into a basin filled with ice cubes and water. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Cook shallot in 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add chestnuts, chicken stock, Canadian whiskey and maple syrup and simmer, swirling skillet occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and chestnuts are glazed, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and keep warm.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until lightly browned. Add beans and toss until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the beans topped with the chestnuts. (Chestnuts can be glazed two days ahead and chilled, covered. Stir in 3 tablespoons additional chicken broth or water and reheat over low heat. Beans can be boiled one day ahead and chilled in a sealed plastic bag lined with paper towels. Bring to room temperature before proceeding).

a French Canadian recipe from Gourmet Magazine, December, 2003

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