Not that old chestnut…

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Tonight I made my first ever dish using chestnuts – and I’m so glad I did. I’d never even eaten them before yesterday. No, never!

Well for starters I haven’t seen chestnuts in Australia, at least not in Perth where I’m from. However, I am reliably informed by others that they are there – I must have been oblivious to them all these years! These things obviously come out in winter, right? Winter just isn’t that cold down there so they definitely aren’t as prevalent as they are here.

So, I see all these chestnuts appear at the markets and in the shops and I am curious. Then I see other bloggers starting to post their culinary works of art with chestnuts, so of course my curiosity gets the better of me and off I go googling away to my heart’s content, finding out all about these little brown nuggets of winter goodyness. Thanks to google and youtube I got all the info I needed, and then also thanks to Luffy Moogan over at Tosh and Tomatoes, her delicious looking post  and most importantly her recipe – I was off on my premier châtaigne cuisiner journey.

First step according to my youtube video was to cut into the chestnut shells, blanch and then roast in order to peel them. Step one accomplished, check! (Btw, did you know you can actually get chestnut splinters? Yes, yes you can!)

Next up, I sauteed onion and garlic for a few minutes (I like to use a combination of butter and oil for this, just because it tastes good), then added grated carrot, chopped mushrooms and the chopped chestnuts & fried for about 5 minutes.

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After turning off the heat, I stirred through about 1/2 a tub of marscapone and a spoonful of tomato paste, seasoned well with freshly ground salt and pepper and left it to stand while I prepared the pastry.

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Thanks to the wonders of pre-made & rolled puff pastry, the next step was easy – lay out one layer of pastry, pile on the filling, top with another layer of pastry, seal the edges and brush with an eggwash. Now according to one of my favourite TV cooks, Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa – the easiest eggwash for a good result is just a beaten egg with a little water added. Who am I to argue with someone of her calibre, so that’s what I used. And I think she’s right. Well apparently she used to be a whitehouse policy advisor – the woman is no dumb bunny!

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Final step, of course, was to bake at 200C for 30-40min. Thankfully this time I remember my slightly hot oven & got them out after exactly 30 – just in time I think.

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Voila – one of THE most delicious combinations I’ve come across and I will most definitely be making this again! Enjoy…  IMG_2528

RECIPE:

4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

350g mushrooms, chopped

a small bowlful of chestnuts, roasted, peeled & roughly chopped

2 small carrots, grated

1/2 tub marscapone

1tbsp tomato paste

a bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

freshly ground salt & pepper

2 puff pastry sheets

1 egg (beaten)

Fry the garlic & onion in butter & oil for a few minutes, add the mushroom, carrot and chestnuts, stir & fry for about 5 min. Turn off the heat & after it has slightly cooled, stir through the marscapone, parsley and tomato paste, season with salt & pepper and set aside.

Lay out one pastry sheet for the base, pile on the filling, leaving a wide edge for sealing. Lay over the top layer of pastry and seal the edges. Brush with the eggwash & pierce a couple of holes. Bake at 180-200C for 30-40 minutes.

MY NOTES: I always use a lot of garlic so feel free to use less 😀 I didn’t weigh the chestnuts, but from memory I had bought about 1/2 kilo raw, and by the time they were roasted & peeled I’d thrown away a handful that were black in the middle (and tasted a few), so what was left is what I went with. I also had a very small amount of chopped walnuts leftover from my santa swirl shortbread, so that got thrown in too! (really only about 2 tbspn, so not much). From the look of the pics I might have used more marscapone than Luffy, so I’m guessing that’s also ‘negotiable’.

This quantity made two very large turnovers, we shared one for dinner with steamed veges – and we were starving – so it was quite filling. I estimate this would feed 4 very hungry adults, 6 adults for a regular main dish with sides, or 8 for a smaller meal or snack.

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