This recipe appears on page 381 of the book Nourishing Traditions. Highly prized in Europe, the chestnut is a vegetable almost com- pletely absent from American tables. This may be because a blight de- stroyed America’s vast chestnut for- ests in the early 1900’s.
As the flesh is soft at maturity, chestnuts are consumed as vegetables. The chestnut has the lowest fat con- tent of any edible nut and, conversely, a high carbohydrate content—hence the characteristic sweetness of the chestnut. They contain some protein and are rich in B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium. Like the fruit of all trees whose roots ex- tend far into the ground, chestnuts are a good source of trace minerals.
Chestnuts are in season in the fall. Select firm nuts with shiny skins. To peel chestnuts, cut an X with a sharp knife on the flat side and roast or boil them for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the skin. Peeling chestnuts for purées, soups or stuffings is a chore; but fortunately peeled, frozen chestnuts are now available. Asian markets also carry peeled, dried chestnuts. These take all the work out of serving chestnuts and should set the stage for a comeback of this delicious vegetable!
- 6 ½ ounces (1 package) frozen chestnuts or 2 cups freshly peeled chestnuts
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock
- ½ cup piima cream or creme fraiche
- sea salt and pepper
- Cook chestnuts, uncovered, in stock until tender.
- Remove with a slotted spoon to food processor and process along with enough stock to achieve desired consistency.
- Blend in cream and season to taste.
- Transfer to a heated serving dish and keep warm in oven.
- 2 cups chestnut purée
- 6 medium zucchini
- sea salt
- Trim ends off the zucchini and plunge into boiling salted, filtered water.
- Cook about 8 minutes or until just tender.
- Remove to a colander and rinse with water.
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scoop out center, leaving about 1/4 inch of outer flesh.
- Sprinkle insides with sea salt and place on paper towels, cut side down, for about 15 minutes to drain.
- Wipe insides with paper towel and fill with purée.
- Arrange in a buttered, glass baking dish and bake at 250 degrees for about 1/2 hour.
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