Saturday, November 17, 2007

Herbed Chestnut Dressing or Stuffing

This is the first time I have cooked with dried chestnuts. This is also, no lie, the first time I have ever cooked with any kind of chestnuts at all, so I have never yet done the whole chestnut-peeling operation, a trial I imagine I will have to face sooner or later. I first learned about dried chestnuts from Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini. She used them to make this carrot soup and these interesting little galettes. Chestnuts have been on my to try list for a while, and the dried version seemed like the easiest kind to use, so I was especially glad to find organic dried chestnuts at my local grocer last week. Even right out of the bag these guys have a deep woody, nutty aroma, which becomes mellower and even more wonderful once they are cooked.

Yippee! I finally cooked chestnuts! will certainly be using them again.

Herbed Chestnut Dressing or Stuffing

Olive oil

1 onion, diced

7 ounces shallots (or another onion), diced

1 pound carrots, sliced

8 ounces dried chestnuts (1 ½ cups), or substitute 8 ounces raw chestnuts, or one pound cooked chestnuts

3 fat pinches dried thyme

8 sage leaves (1 teaspoon dried sage)

salt

8 cups or so torn or cubed bread (I used half a challah and two whole grain rolls)

1 pound (2 packages) wild rice tempeh, or other tempeh.

½ cup balsamic vinegar

yet another onion, finely diced

6 eggs

salt, pepper, and paprika

dry sherry

Heat oil in a large kettle and add the shallots and onions. Cook and stir a few minutes and add the carrots, chestnuts and herbs. Continue cooking and stirring until the onions and shallots are quite soft, about fifteen minutes, and pour in water to cover and add about one and a half teaspoons salt. Allow to cook until the chestnuts are soft, adding more water as needed, about forty-five minutes.

Toast the bread-bits in the oven until quite crisp and brown.

Heat some more oil in a large iron skillet. Crumble the tempeh into the skillet and cook over high heat until deep golden on all sides. Pour on the balsamic vinegar. Sizzle sizzle sizzle.

Beat the eggs and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. When they are cool enough to handle, combine the toasted bread, braised tempeh, and stewed chestnuts and carrots in a large bowl. Add the eggs, sprinkle on a bit of dry sherry and mix, mix, toss, toss.

You can use this dressing to stuff a pumpkin like this beautiful musquee de Provence, or just bake at 350 it in an oiled ovenproof dish, covered, for about 45 minutes.

See other herbal dreams fulfilled in Vanessa's Weekend Herb Blogging roundup at What Geeks Eat.

The Yiddish words for chestnut are קעסט and קאַשטאַן (kashtan and kest) The elegant and graceful chestnut tree is the symbol of the city of Kiev.
Food and Drink, Recipes, Cooking, Food, Vegetarian, vegetables, antioxidant-rich foods, Weekend Herb Blogging, whb,

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7 Comments:

Blogger Kalyn said...

What are the odds that two people would blog about chestnuts the same week that the lovely Simona has sent me some! I'm so excited, since I've never tasted them. This sounds just delicious and now I want to look for the dried ones too.

12:15 PM  
Blogger The Northernmost Jew said...

Pecan pies? Chestnut stuffing? I am crashing your thanksgiving dinner!

11:15 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

kalyn,

Wow, how very lovely of Simona! I look forward to reading about what you make with them.

northernmost jew,

You will be so welcome! I will probably be making black walnut pie instead of pecan pie this year, because I have a huge sack of black walnuts from the farm.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Yulinka said...

Kashtan is also the Russian word for chestnut. I've never cooked with them, though. What do they taste like?

1:16 AM  
Blogger Laurie Constantino said...

I've only had chestnuts roasted over an open fire (and I'm not joking! they are great that way). This looks interesting -- if I ever run into chestnuts, this would be a good place to start using them. Thanks!

1:21 AM  
Anonymous Genie said...

Wow...that sounds delicious! I have been looking for a chestnut stuffing recipe to use for Thanksgiving this year, and that looks awesome. After all, I have to put all our chestnuts to good use -- I ordered five pounds of them for my parents!

9:47 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

yulinka,
the flavor of cooked chestnuts is a little like sweet potatoes, but with a bit of a flowery and herbal fragrance. They are warming and satisfying.
laurie,
is that how you would describe them? I am just starting but they seem to be a good staple for vegetarian cooking.
genie,
did you make this? how did it turn out? I made another batch for thanksgiving with whole wheat sourdough instead of challah. Different, but also good.

11:55 AM  

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