As with mushrooms, there is a bit of an adventurous taste with chestnuts. On a rainy autumn afternoon, it becomes a walk in the woods in search of treasures, with the promise of a good snack as a reward. For others, it’s also the memory of the hearth in the countryside, with a perforated pan filled with chestnuts burning almost directly in the flame to deliver these tiny white and delicate balls of bark with such a special taste.
In addition to the Madeleine Proust that makes up it, chestnut is above all an important component of the gastronomic history of France, especially thanks to its properties that have managed to save many regions from starvation over the past centuries.
Unlike other foods that we find as the basis of our modern kitchen and that come from faraway places (potatoes, carrots, corn, etc.), this little fruit has always grown in our regions. See, for example, the chestnut fossil dating back nearly 8.5 million years that was found in the Ardèche, an area where chestnut cultivation is still widely practiced.
In recent years, chestnuts and their variations have made a strong comeback on store shelves, introducing themselves as a very popular product for gluten-free diets. But summing up this nut in an easily digestible flour is to hide its other benefits, such as its high iron content, calcium, phosphorous or magnesium content as well as muscle-building essential amino acids. nutrients in the body. If, like all good things, it should not be abused, then chestnuts are also very saturated thanks to the numerous fibers that it consists of. In other words, it is a highly recommended food when you want to lose weight.
Chestnut season – the culinary name given to chestnuts, not to be confused with the park-adorning horse chestnuts and whose fruits, though similar, are inedible – is from September to mid-December. Depending on the region, it is often found around 6 euros per kilo. Once in the kitchen, the idea is to cut the peel before placing each fruit in boiling water for a few minutes to pre-cook (chestnuts can’t be eaten raw) in order to peel them more easily. If we’re obviously thinking of roasted chestnuts or the famous cream of chestnut when it comes to cooking, the fruit goes very well with different types of cabbage (from green to Romanesco), for surprisingly sweet and savory. Once the chestnuts are turned into flour, it can also be used as a base for many cakes and muffins. Something to give a boost and a delicious taste of the season to traditional desserts.
Chestnut confit with shallots
Ingredients for 4 people: 1 kg of fresh chestnuts, 20 cl of dry white wine, 5 leeks, 1 sprig of fennel, salt / pepper, 1 chicken stock cube, 30 g of salted butter.
cooking : 50 minutes
- Put a pot of water to boil. Cut the chestnut skin from top to bottom on one side. Boil the chestnuts for 4 minutes and then remove them. Finish peeling it off.
- Cut leeks and fennel into small pieces.
- In a skillet, gently melt the butter, then add the fennel, shallots and chestnuts. Cook for a maximum of 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Then add white wine and broth previously diluted in 30 cl of water and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once the sauce has reduced well, add to the dressing and serve immediately.
trick: You can also add walnuts at the end of cooking to add crunch.
vessel Peel if close
Good workers need good tools. To save time in complete safety, this chestnut knife, with its short curved blade, makes it easy to split the peel of the fruit before it’s cooked. Chestnut knife, www.emperor.fr, €18.80
pastry shop. Festive sweets
To celebrate their centenary, Marrons Imbert asked 25 chefs about their recipes for Mont-Blanc, one of the most popular chestnut-based pastries. The result is this beautiful book full of indulgence, to recreate the best versions of this wonderful festive dessert at home. 100 Years at Mont Blanc, www.marrons-imbert.com, €15