I promised more Chestnut recipes, so here they are. Fresh or ready to use Sweet Chestnuts are both good, but the fresh chestnuts do have a fuller, more earthy flavor. We’ve all heard of Chestnut Stuffing or Chestnut Meringue, but I wanted to find other types of recipes using Chestnuts. These next two recipes are from Diane Henry, and they were published in the Daily Telegraph. The pasta with chestnuts looks fresh and light, and easy to cook. The pork braised with chestnuts and mushrooms oozes richness and flavour.
This recipe not only looks fresh and full of flavour, it is also light and full of healthy vegetables, with the savoy cabbage and radicchio. I'm really looking forward to both cooking and eating this one.
- 175-200 g (6-7oz) fresh bucatini or tagliatelle - or 150 g (5 1/2oz) dried pasta
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) pancetta, cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, cut into half-moon shaped slices, about 1/2 cm (1/4 in) thick
- 50 g (1 3/4 oz) butter
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) savoy cabbage leaves, remove tough central stems - shred the leaves
- 50 g (1 3/4 oz) radicchio leaves, torn
- 100 g (3 1/2 oz) cooked chestnuts, halved (freshly cooked or vacuum -packed, ready to cook)
- Parmesan cheese - freshly grated
- If you're using dried pasta, cook in boiling, lightly salted water for about 15 minutes until al dente.
- Meanwhile, saute the pancetta in a large hot pan in its own fat. Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and saute the onion over a medium heat until soft. Add the butter and heat until melted, then add the savoy cabbage, radicchio and chestnuts and cook over a medium heat until the leaves wilt.
- Add the pancetta back to the pan and season.
- While you are finishing off the sauce, cook the fresh pasta, if using, in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta well, and toss in the pan with the vegetables and chestnuts. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
This next recipe is one to warm you up on a cruel Winter’s day – lovely as a special dish for family, but this would be a great dish to serve up to friends as part of a dinner party menu.
Diane Henry suggests that it is a great recipe to prepare in advance – it tastes even better the next day. That’s the sort of recipe I like when having friends around – get rid of the mess before they come (not that I’m a messy cook, honest!!)
This braised pork recipe sounds a perfect dish to give family or friends on a wet, windy Autumn day. The mix of porcini or wild mushrooms, chestnuts and juniper berries to flavour the pork sound so rich and earthy, and Diane Henry recommends serving it with a big, steaming bowl of polenta or mash. Sounds perfect to me. If cooking it on the hob for 2 hours, make sure your casserole dish is a strong one with a good, thick base. Cast-iron casseroles are perfect, or a good stainless steel one with a sandwich base, so that the casserole mix doesn't catch and burn. Presumably, once this has boiled on the hob, the casserole could be placed in an oven at no more than 300 F/150 C or gas 2, then taken out at the end, placed on the hop uncovered for a few minutes to allow the juices to thicken.
- 30 g (1 1/4 oz) dried porcini, or mixed wild mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) shoulder or leg of pork, cut into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 20 juniper berries
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 250 ml (9 fl oz) white wine
- 200 g (7 oz) field mushrooms, sliced
- 25 g (1 oz) butter
- 50 ml (2 fl oz) dry marsala
- 125 g (4 1/2oz) cooked chestnuts, halved
- Cover the dried mushrooms with 150ml (5 fl oz) boiling water and leave to soak for about 30 mins.
- Heat 1 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil in a casserole and colour the pork in batches over a high heat, until it's well browned on all sides. As each batch is browned, remove it with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- When all the pork has been fried, add the onions to the fat in the pan and saute over a medium heat until soft and pale gold.
- Put the juniper berries in a mortar and crush them, then add the rosemary and bruise it to release its fragrance. Add to the onion, along with the garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring. Deglaze the pan by adding the balsamic vinegar and wine, stirring to dislodge the flavour that's stuck to the pan.
- Return the pork and all its juices to the pan along with the wild mushrooms and their strained soaking liquor. Bring the mixture to the boil, season, then turn the heat down as low as you can and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for two hours, stirring from time to time.
- After an hour and a half, heat the rest of the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the fresh mushrooms over a high heat. When they are well coloured add the butter and season. Add the marsala, let it bubble away until there is almost nothing left, then tip all this plus the chestnuts into the pork casserole and stir to combine.
- You should fine that the juices around the pork are the right thickness, but if not, leave the casserole uncovered for a bit so that the liquor can reduce and thicken.
- Check for seasoning before serving.
Well, that’s a few more Chestnut recipes for you, but there are so many using this unusual nut. I’ll be looking our for dessert recipes, plus traditional Italian ones to tempt you with. As its that time of year (for Chestnuts) I’ll put the recipes on week after week. So keep watching.