My lovely sister was making me jealous with tales of the lovely harvest of apples, pears and plums from the surrounding orchards, down in kent where she lives. She suprised me this weekend by sending me a box full of plump, shiny, perfect chestnuts – freshly picked of course.
I knew exactly what I was going to do with them – make my favourite vegetarian pie. If you don’t have a lovely sister to send you fresh chestnuts, then you can sometimes buy tinned or vacuum packed ones locally or alternatively, buy them, dried from the wholefood co-operative. This recipe is taken from the BBCGood Food magazine. It is wonderful with creamy mash and sweet potato.
- 250g/8oz of fresh chestnuts OR 125g/4oz dried chestnuts, soaked for 6-8 hours
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 tsp/5ml dried rosemary
- 210ml/7fl oz red wine
- 300ml/10fl oz Marigold vegetable stock or water
- 25g/1oz butter or soya margarine
- 8 small pickling onions or shallots, peeled
- 125g/4oz chestnut mushrooms, wiped
- 125g/4oz button mushrooms, wiped
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 225g/8oz pastry. You could use Gluten Free Pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Place the soaked chestnuts, herbs and 150ml/5fl oz of wine in a saucepan with vegetable stock to cover and cook until just tender – approximately 50-60 minutes.
- Drain the chestnuts, reserving the liquid.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onions until slightly browned.Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
- Add the chestnuts, the remaining red wine and sufficient chestnut cooking liquor to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes to reduce the liquid a little.
- Stir in the mustard, tamari and black pepper to taste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface and place on top of filling. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden.
The weather is very dank at the moment, rain every day, overcast and cold, hardly like midsummer at all. I made this tonight, using vacuum-packed chestnuts, carrots and celery from the garden, and some cooking chorizo from the freezer.
The recipe is from the Moro cookbook, full of interesting recipes that are generally easy to cook and taste wonderful.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 stick of celery, finely sliced
- 120g mild cooking chorizo, chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 small dried red chillies, crushed
- half a tin of chopped tomatoes
- around 500g cooked peeled chestnuts
- 20 saffron threads, infused in 4 tbsp boiling water
- 1 litre boiling water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and fry the onion, carrot, celery and chorizo for around 20 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are caramelised.
- Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and chillies, and stir in well
- Add the tomatoes, stir again and then a couple of minutes later, add the chestnuts, water and saffron water and simmer for around 10 minutes
- Remove from the heat and mash the chestnuts. I used a soup wand, leaving the soup slightly rough and chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I think you could add a glass of dry sherry to this, I’ll try this tomorrow. It freezes well too.
This recipe is very forgiving; you can vary the stock base, the proportions of the vegetables or the herbs you use, whether or not to include chestnuts or cream.
- 1 large onion
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp butter
- 4 tbsp sherry (subst wine if no sherry available)
- 250g brussels sprouts
- 500ml stock (increase if you are not using chestnuts)
- pinch of dried tarragon
- 200g chestnut puree
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsp single cream
- Chop the onion, and fry gently in the butter and vegetable oil, for around 5 minutes, so that it starts to soften without browning.
- Add the sherry, bring to the boil and when the alcohol has boiled off, add the sprouts, stock, tarragon and pureed chestnuts, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for around 15 minutes.
- Use a soup blender and whiz until smooth. Season and add the cream, if using.
I came up with this recipe when we were given several frozen items from a friend who was moving. We borrowed the recipe from Moro, and adapted it to what we had.
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 150g panceta or other cured pork belly, finely sliced
- 10 small shallots, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 4 bayleaves
- 1 cinnamon stick (although 1/2 tsp cinnamon would have been easier)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 4 cloves, roughly ground
- 1 can of chopped organic tomatoes
- 1 large pheasant, jointed
- 200ml white wine
- 1 jar of cooked chestnuts (Ronnie’s shop)
- salt and pepper to season
- In a large suacepan, heat half the olive oil and cook the panceta over a medium heat for five minutes
- Add the chopped shallots, carrot, garlic and bay leaves and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown nicely
- Add the cinnamon, thyme, paprika, cloves, stir for a little bit longer then add the tomatoes, turn the heat down low.
- While the tomatoes are simmering, in a large flat pan, heat the rest of the olive oil, season the pheasant joints and fry until brown on all sides.
- Add the legs/thighs and then the wine to the saucepan with the tomatoes, and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.
- Add the roughly chopped chestnuts along with the pheasant breast meat, and cook slowly for another 10 minutes, with the lid off.
- Check the seasoning, and allow to rest for around 10 minutes before serving
We had this with roast parsnips and mashed potatoes. And wine.