(to serve with Roast Turkey or Pork Chops and cress)
Quite a long time ago chestnut purée became a given on our Thanksgiving turkey-and-trimmings menu. Earlier than that, back in my Orléans days, it accompanied wild boar or venison when several culinarily deprived GIs trooped to the stately salle of the Hôtel Ste-Catherine for a festive meal.
Another delicious escape from Headquarters Co. 7805 was dinner at a little upstairs place called Au Père Jean where course 2 out of 5 was always escargots and the gastronomic needle tended to get stuck in a groove at this point as we ordered seconds of the good father’s amply-garlicked snails.
Put 12 to 20 chestnuts in a pot with cold water up to 1 inch above them, bring the water to a boil and simmer the chestnuts exactly 30 minutes. Keep the chestnuts covered in the water as you remove them one at a time, cutting each nut in two and pushing the inside out.
Now put all the peeled nuts in a pot with water to cover and boil them until they’re very soft, about 30 minutes. Purée the nuts in a blender or food processor a little at a time, along with some cooking liquid, until they’re the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Finally, add butter to taste (don’t stint if you want a silky texture) and reheat the purée in a double boiler.
ALTERNATIVE: Serve your turkey or pork with Gigi’s Sweet Potato Croquettes.