Crunch-tastic chestnuts

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Nothing beats the smell of roasted chestnuts or the surprising burst they bring to recipes

Chestnut and Chocolate Mousse with Chestnut Toffee Shards (3)

March-May is chestnut season in Australia, just as the weather starts to slowly cool down. Sweet or savoury, these are super versatile nuts and are delicious in a range of recipes, or as simply roasted.

The best way to roast them is to give them a good rinse and after they’ve dried, cut small slits or crosses over them so the skin doesn’t burst. Roast them in the oven for 10-20 mins on 200 °C and chuck them onto a tea towel once they’re out. Otherwise, you can boil them for 15mins n the stove top. Peel them as soon as you can, using heat resistant gloves. Once they go cold, they’re extremely tricky to peel.

Or you could use them in one of these recipes below. (Warning: don’t look at on any empty stomach!)

 

 

Chestnut and pork noodles

Serves 4

 

300g fresh chestnuts

½ cup light soy sauce

1 tbs brown sugar

Zest & juice of 1 lime

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

1 tbs fresh ginger, grated

400g minced pork

400g thin egg noodles

1 tbs vegetable oil

4 spring onions, chopped

1 bunch bok choy, quartered

125g bean shoots

Handful coriander leaves

Vegetable oil, for shallow frying

 

 

1. Remove outer hard shell of the chestnuts and place in a medium saucepan. Fill with enough water to cover the chestnuts, and boil for 15 minutes. Drain. Finely slice ? of the chestnuts, chop the remaining ? into matchsticks and set aside.

2. Place soy sauce, brown sugar, lime zest and juice, garlic, chilli and ginger in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Add pork mince along with the roughly chopped chestnuts and stir. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse.

3.To make the crispy chestnut garnish, fill a small saucepan with approximately 5cm of vegetable oil. Place on high heat. When a piece of bread dropped into the oil sizzles, the oil is ready. Carefully place the chestnut matchsticks into the oil and gently move them around the pan until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel.

4. Prepare noodles according to packet instructions (they need to be cooked until almost soft) and set aside.

5. Heat ½ tbs of the oil in a wok over high heat. Strain the pork mince mixture, reserving the marinade in a small bowl for later. Transfer marinated pork to hot wok. Cook pork for about 5 minutes, until golden in colour but not fully cooked. Remove pork from wok, and drain any excess marinade or juices into the bowl of marinade.

6. Heat remaining oil in the wok, add spring onions and bok choy and toss for 1 min. Add reserved marinade to wok and bring to the boil for 1 min. Add noodles and return pork mixture to pan. Cook for a further couple of minutes until cooked through. Stir through most of the bean shoots and coriander.

7. Place into serving bowls, top with remaining bean shoots and coriander, and  sprinkle with crispy chestnuts.

 

Chestnut and chocolate mousse with chestnut toffee shards

Serves 4

 

Chestnut Puree

400g fresh chestnuts

1 cup milk

¼ cup sugar

1 cup water

Chestnut and Chocolate Mousse

200g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 eggs, at room

temperature, separated

2 tbs caster sugar

200ml thickened cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Toffee Shards

¼ cup caster sugar

2 tsp water

Whipped cream, to serve

 

Chestnut Puree

1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Carefully cut a small X shape into the side of each chestnut. Boil the chestnuts for 20 minutes. Drain and using a small

paring knife remove shell and skin.

2. Place 250g of the shelled, roughly chopped chestnuts into a small saucepan

along with milk, sugar and 1 cup of water and boil for 15-20 minutes, or until the chestnuts are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Place in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Set aside to cool. (The remaining chopped chestnuts will be used for the toffee).

Mousse

3. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of

simmering water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Stir for 5 minutes or until the chocolate has completely melted and is smooth.

4. Remove bowl from the heat and set aside for 3 minutes to cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and stir until well combined.

5. In a separate medium size clean bowl, place the cream, 150g of the chestnut puree and vanilla extract. Whisk until soft peaks form. Note: There will be some chestnut puree leftover, try it stirred through Greek yoghurt for breakfast.

6. Use electric beaters to beat the egg whites in a large, clean dry bowl until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the caster sugar, 1 tsp at a time, beating well between each addition, until the sugar dissolves.

7. Fold the chocolate mixture into the

chestnut cream mixture, until well combined.

8. Add approximately ¼ cup of egg whites to the chocolate cream mixture and stir thoroughly to loosen the mixture. Fold the remaining egg whites gently into the chocolate cream mixture until evenly combined.

9. Spoon the mousse mixture into four serving glasses or dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 3 hours, or until chilled.

Toffee Shards

10. Chop the remaining chestnuts into small chunks and place on a sheet of baking paper, clumped together. Place sugar and 2 teaspoons of water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water for 10 minutes or until golden. Pour over the chestnuts and set aside to set. To serve top each mousse with whipped cream and break off a bit of chestnut toffee shard.

 

 

 

Recipes and photos: Chestnuts Australia