For me, chestnuts and cold weather go hand in hand.
When you’re out Christmas shopping the intoxicating smell of chestnuts being roasted is irresistible.
Having enjoyed the bag of roasted chestnuts (which also serves as a necessarily hand-warmer) it is usually then that I remember I need some for the turkey stuffing.
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From experience I know that even if I went back to the chestnut seller to buy more for the stuffing they wouldn’t last the journey home, so I usually buy them ready cooked for recipes.
I have bought fresh chestnuts in the past, to cook and peel myself. It’s simple to do, but time consuming.
You need a very sharp serrated knife to cut a long slit in them, you then simmer them for a short time in boiling water, roast them, steam them, and finally remove the shells, which should pull off easily after all that prep, and the tough brown skins.
If you don’t have the time or simply don’t want to go through the work of roasting and peeling your own, you can find pre-roasted and shelled chestnuts in supermarkets, usually in vacuum packed bags, and these are delicious also. This recipe works well with either.
Mushroom and chestnut filo galette
For the filo pastry shell
50g butter, melted
3 fat garlic cloves, finely sliced
8-12 filo pastry sheets
For the filling
15g dried porcini mushrooms
150ml hot vegetable stock
1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
A pinch of salt
500g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A double measure of brandy
200g vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
150ml double cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Handful fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Put the dried porcini mushrooms into a heat-proof bowl and pour over 150ml hot vegetable stock. Leave to one side for about 15 minutes for the mushrooms to rehydrate.
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until just starting to colour. Transfer the garlic to a small dish and leave to one side. Pour 2/3 of the oil into another small dish and leave to cool, this will be used later to brush onto the filo sheets.
Add the oil to the remaining butter in the saucepan and heat over a low heat. Tip in the onion, add a pinch of salt, and sauté for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
Turn up the heat slightly and add the chestnut mushrooms. Cook for a further 4–5 minutes until they are nice and brown then add the cooked garlic back into the pan along with the black pepper.
Drain the rehydrated porcini mushrooms, roughly chop and add to the pan. Do not discard the soaking liquid. The mushrooms may release grit while soaking which will have fallen to the bottom of the bowl. You do not want to add this grit to your recipe so strain the liquid through a coffee filter or paper towel and leave to one side.
Pour the brandy into the pan and let it gently bubble until nearly all evaporated. Now add the reserved soaking liquid into the pan and stir through. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the cream then simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the chestnuts and mix well to combine. Remove from the heat, cover and leave the pan to one side to let the mixture cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove the filo pastry sheets from the packet and, working very quickly, layer them one by one on the baking sheet, brushing each with the reserved garlic flavoured butter and rotating each sheet a little. Top with the mushroom mixture and fold the edges up to create a border around the galette.
Brush the border of filo very lightly with a little more garlic butter and bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, or until the filo pastry is golden brown and the filling is piping hot.
Sprinkle over some chopped flat leaf parsley and serve with steamed seasonal vegetables or a simple mixed leaf salad.
Follow Beverley Hicks @littlechelseakitchen