Last month I had the privilege of hosting the women from my First We Eat 2019 Creative Mastermind in central Oregon. It was so amazing to be able to gather together in person after months of group skype sessions (nothing can replace the feeling of being able to give someone a real-life hug!) Dishing us up with nourishing, soul-enriching food on the daily was Shauna Galante of Secret Language. Shauna and I first met at a Secret Supper years ago, where I was quite taken with an especially fetching wool hat she was wearing. Her passion for farm-to-table cooking, her humor, and her bonkers amazing talent were clear from the get-go, and I was BEYOND excited to have a badass female chef catering our group of female creative business owners.
To say we were “wow-ed” would be an understatement. Everyone was begging for the recipes when the retreat came to a close—there were so many incredible dishes that she made, and the last night’s dinner was especially mind-blowing. She threw down a miso butter roast chicken, delicious mustardy roasted brussel sprouts, and chestnut brown butter potatoes with caramelized leeks (plus a banana toffee cake for dessert!) like it was no big deal. I couldn’t bring myself to keep her magic from spreading, (it seemed like a betrayal of humanity to keep these potatoes from being shared with the world), so we decided to collaborate on a few blog posts together to share some of the crazy delicious dishes she made for us, with you!
We hope this is enough of a head’s up that you can enjoy them on your holiday table, too 😀 There will be more recipe goodness coming from the collaboration over the next few weeks (including that miso butter chicken and mustardy brussel sprouts), so stay tuned! And if you make them, we’d love for you to tag @asecretlanguage so that we can see the beauty that you’ve made! I can’t wait to see this dish enjoying the limelight on your holiday table—it’s legitimately ridiculous how good this is. Think perfectly fluffy savory potatoes, doused in brown butter that also happens to be infused with roasted chestnuts. Keep in mind that the roasted chestnuts have also absorbed the brown butter, since they’ve been cooked in it. And let’s not forget the whoooole bunch of savory n’ sweet caramelized leeks dumped over the entire thing. If anyone doesn’t believe that food is magic, you can submit this as evidence. Enjoy, my friends!
Chestnut Brown Butter Potatoes with Caramelized Leeks
Chestnuts have their own unique magic, but can be a chore to peel in any serious quantity. We get around that by infusing just a few into the brown butter, which coats the whole dish with toasty chestnut flavor. Add a kiss of freshly grated nutmeg just before serving to amplify the holiday vibe.
— Shauna of SecretLanguagePDX.com
- 2 ½ pounds small thin-skinned potatoes (such as Carolas or fingerlings), washed
- 2 large leeks
- 2 cups butter
- 6 to 10 large chestnuts
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Flake sea salt to taste
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Parsley leaves to garnish
- 1/4 teaspoon Freshly grated nutmeg to garnish
With a sharp paring knife, cut an X into the flat side of each chestnut. Arrange on a baking sheet cut side up and roast at 400 F until the skins begin to curl and detach from the nut, about 15 minutes.
Let cool *just* until you are able to handle them, and then use a paring knife to gently peel the skin away from the flesh. Discard the skins. Break or slice each peeled chestnut into small pieces and reserve.
Brown Butter Potatoes with Caramelized Leeks
- Trim the roots and tops from leeks and discard or save for later use. Cut each leek in half lengthwise, then slice thinly into half-moons. Put the slices into a bowl, cover with cold water, and let sit for 10 minutes, then drain in a colander and rinse again with fresh water to rid them of any residual sand.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium and add the rinsed leeks and a sprinkle of salt. Sweat the leeks, covered, stirring every few minutes, over low to medium heat until melty and tender, about 15 minutes.
In a medium sized pot, cover the potatoes in cold water and add a hefty pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then taste the water and adjust until it is quite salty (but not disagreeably so.) Reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender- a knife should easily slide in and out of the potato without resistance. Drain, let cool 5-10 minutes, and then using your fingers, break each potato into two or three pieces. Set aside in a mixing bowl while you quickly prepare the chestnut brown butter.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining butter with the chestnut pieces. Whisk constantly until the butter foams, and then becomes golden brown (NOT deep brown). The chestnuts should continue to cook through and infuse their aroma into the butter without becoming too dark.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the cooked leeks. This will drop the temperature of the butter just enough so the browning stops at the perfect shade of toasty golden brown. Stir with a spatula to incorporate, making sure to work in the caramelized butter solids from the bottom of the saucepan. Drizzle the entire mixture over the warm broken potatoes. Season with flaky salt, fresh ground black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon, and garnish with parsley and nutmeg, if using.