A deliciously thick and creamy sauce that is wonderful with roast chicken. This simple blend of shallots, chestnuts, white wine and stock is Dairy-free.
The overlooked chestnut really is deserving of more attention than we give it. Certainly in Britain it has been relegated to something of a novelty food, duly trotted out with the gluhwein once a year at Christmas, then promptly forgotten. But actually, it’s something of a wonder-nut.
Unique among its nutty brethren, chestnuts have a low fat content. They also have an unusually high carbohydrate content. This means they have traditionally been used as a dietary source of carbohydrate, particularly in areas of southern Europe and Asia where cereal crops were not cultivable. For example, in the highlands of Tuscany, a cake made from chestnut flour called ‘Castagnaccio’ was popular as a potato substitute, due to the ready availability of chestnuts in the surrounding countryside.
The recipe below provides a great accompaniment to roast poultry, working as both a potato and a gravy substitute. I particularly recommend roast chicken and chestnut puree grain-free sandwiches).
- You can, of course, roast and shell your own chestnuts. This probably seems like a fun idea if you’ve never done it before. You’ll google ‘how to roast chestnuts’, think it looks easy enough, and merrily set your oven to preheating. Please note that roasting and shelling your own chestnuts is only fun if your idea of fun involves shoving hot splinters into your nailbed. Repeatedly. While the pile of whole chestnuts left to shell remains undwindling, like some sort of magical self-replenishing foodstuff.So, even though this goes against the usual Paleo ethos, my advice to you is to buy vacuum packed chestnuts, that have already been cooked and shelled.
- If you have a digestive disorder, Breaking the Vicious Cycle advises eating chestnuts only when sympton-free, due to the high starch content.
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 shallot
- 1/4 cup (60ml) white wine
- 250g cooked and peeled whole chestnuts
- 1/2 cup (120ml) homemade chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegan option)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallot and fry for about 5 minutes, until translucent but not brown. Add the wine. Let the alcohol burn off by bubbling steadily for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Check that the alcohol has burned off by smelling the rising fumes, then turn off the heat.
- Tip into a food processor. Add all the other ingredients and blitz until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl and serve warm or cold.