Now the festive season is upon us all I can think of is festive foods to cook up in the kitchen and one in particular ingredient, chestnuts. I adore chestnuts, when I lived in Barcelona one of my Christmas time rituals was walking down the bustling streets to find a chestnut roasting street vendor to feed my chestnut addiction. There is something about freshly roasted chestnuts that feels so festive and that is one thing I miss from my time there.
When the kind peeps over at Merchant Gourmet offered to send me some products to try I new I had to have the chestnuts, I have wanted to experiment with chestnuts this year and this was the perfect opportunity.
I was sent a tin of Chestnut Puree and a pack of vacuum packed Whole Chestnuts. I new exactly what I wanted to make with both these products and each recipe turned out so well I thought you might like to try them too.
Chestnut and Squash Soup
The first recipe is a yummy hearty soup using the chestnut puree.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 leek, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large butternut squash, cubed
1 can chestnut puree
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper
1 kettle boiling water
Add olive oil to a large pan and heat over a low flame, add the garlic and onion and let them sweat for a couple of minutes before adding the leek, carrot and bay leaves. Stir and cook for a further few minutes.
Add the squash and chestnut puree then the water and stir. Turn up the het and bring soup to the boil.
Add some salt and pepper to the pot and once the soup is boiling turn down to simmer for 40 minutes or until the squash is soft.
Once the soup is cooked take it off the heat and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and whizz it up with a hand blender.
This soup is great with crusty bread or roasted broccoli like I had it. Its flavoursome, thick and filling and perfect for cold nights when you want something quick and easy to eat : )
Stuffed Squash with Bacon, Chestnuts and Sprouts
My second recipe is a bit of a classic with a twist.
1 stuffing squash
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
8 rashers of thin streaky smoked bacon
1 pack ready to eat chestnuts
3/4 pack sprouts
Preheat your oven to 180.
Cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds then rub a little olive oil over each of the insides and sprinkle with chilli flakes and a little salt before placing in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until browned and a little crispy.
While your squash roasts prepare the sprouts by cutting off the outer layers and cutting in half then steaming them for 4 minutes to soften.
Cut the bacon into thin strips and the chestnuts into halves and set aside.
In a large pan add a little olive oil and place over a medium heat. Slice the onion, crush the garlic and add to the pan. Cook for a minute or so then add the bacon.
Once the bacon starts to crisp add the chestnuts and sprouts then sprinkle with a little salt. Cook for a further 10 minutes at that point your squash should be just about ready to come out of the oven.
Place the squash on a warmed plate and top with chestnut mix.
This turned out so well and was a hit with the man, definitely one I will be making again which is fine by me! Usually the sprouts, bacon and chestnuts are used as a classic side but I think it works just as good as a proper main meal.
Do you like chestnuts?
Whats your favourite meal using chestnuts?