My favorite farmers at the market now have chestnuts. I’ve bought fresh chestnuts before and I recall them being a huge pain, although curiously I don’t recall much else about them. Nonetheless I was of course compelled to purchase a pint of them.
They’re still a huge pain.
I wanted to do something savory with them so I got the idea to use them in stuffed peppers. Here’s what I did.
1/2 pint fresh chestnuts
1/4 large onion or 1/2 smaller onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 Tbsp red wine
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1 cup vegan broth
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
2 long sweet peppers
vegan cheese (optional), for topping
Here are my chestnuts. I peeled the whole pint but only used half of them in this recipe. I’ll roast the other half later.
Cut an “x” in each chestnut. I used a paring knife and had to be a bit stabby with it. It’s probably very easy to cut yourself when preparing chestnuts. It requires a bit more effort than doing the same thing to tomatoes you want to peel.
Put the chestnuts in some water, then bring it to a boil.
Boil the chestnuts for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat off but leave them in the pot. They are easier to peel when they are warm, so scoop out a few at a time and leave the rest in the water as you peel them. The shells will likely have started to open at your “x”.
Use your fingers and/or paring knife to remove the shell. The skin almost always comes off in the shell; sometimes you’ll have to rub it off. This one looks disconcertingly like a chocolate candy to me.
I’ll be honest, peeling chestnuts is a real bore and took forever.
At long last, they were done.
Roughly chop them.
Put some oil in a small skillet and add the diced onion. Cook for a minute or two, then add the garlic.
Add the chestnuts and cook another few minutes.
Add the wine, using it to deglaze the pan …
… then add the sage, broth, and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, and simmer until the chestnuts are soft. I left mine for 40 minutes while I went to exercise. Stir in the rice.
Cut them in half lengthwise.
Remove the seeds.
Stuff 1/4 of the mixture into each half.
Optionally top with vegan cheese. I used a small bit of Daiya mozzarella and a generous sprinkle of Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix.
Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. I used my toaster oven, which worked great. Here it is finished. This was okay, but I wouldn’t say it was worth the effort of the chestnut peeling.
Cucumber and Radish Salad
2 pickling cucumbers, or 1 regular cucumber
3-4 large radishes
1/4 large or 1/2 smaller onion
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
3 springs dill, chopped (or just pull the fronds off)
Thinly slice the cucumbers and radishes; a mandoline is preferred for this task. Also very thinly slice the onion.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Toss everything together. Preferably put it in a bowl with a sealing lid. Refrigerate for at least an hour, occasionally shaking and/or flipping the bowl over if it has a sealable lid.
And here it is finished. I make variations of this frequently during the summer so there was no surprise here. It was a good choice to accompany this meal because chestnuts are a bit sweet, and I also served sweet corn on the cob, and this was a tangy, refreshing contrast.
In kitty news, Gomez and Torticia recently went in for their annual exams. I love taking them to the vet because they are not Tigger. Tigger hated hated HATED the vet. There are some vet techs out there who actually refused to be in the same room as him, and he left more than one doctor bruised and bloodied in his wake. In fact, it was generally a bloodbath and I’d have to walk out in shame. He was a TERROR. These two little sweet darlings, on the other hand, are SO GOOD! They react quite differently from each other, however. Torticia looks at the whole experience as one fun adventure and makes herself right at home, whereas Gomez rather quivers in fear the whole time.
Torticia at the vet:
Gomez at the vet:
Torticia at the vet:
Gomez at the vet (look at that scowl!):
I’ve zoomed in and enhanced this photo so you can see Torticia’s extremely cute “vanilla” toe. LOVE that the vanilla toe has a pink paw pad and the chocolate toes have brown pads!
Silly cats. Anyway, everyone oohed and aahed over their beauty, sweetness, and marvelously soft and silky coats. I love that no one who sees them can resist petting them. They are in optimal health, although little miss Fatso needs to shed some pounds. Gomez forgot his ordeal within two seconds of returning home. (Torticia, world’s most agreeable cat, couldn’t have cared less if I’d packed her back up and driven her back there a second time.)