[Sca-cooks] And speaking of boiled nuts...
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius1 at verizon.net
Thu Dec 31 05:24:37 PST 2009
and apropos of not much else, other than people's attitudes about them, an example of the kind of willful attitude adjustment that may have to take place (or possibly already has) is my recent chestnut stuffing epiphany.
People love chestnut stuffing for birds. I never did, never saw the point, never thought it was any good.
I have, however, eaten steamed chestnuts in Chinese rice dumplings, various French purees and similarly-flavored starchy foods such as taro root, and my feeling was that if one could make a chestnut stuffing that tasted like those examples of chestnut use, it might be good. Essentially using chestnuts as a starchy tuber instead of a not-very-effective chopped nut garnish.
I found that it does use more chestnuts, which aren't cheap, but you can bulk them out with breadcrumbs (probably up to 50% without losing the impact), sausage meat, onion, other veg, etc.
I roasted them in a fairly traditional manner (slit, sprayed with a little veg oil, sheet pan in hot oven), cooled slightly, peeled. A few recalcitrant ornery ones I put in a small saucepan of cold water, brought to a boil, and let sit while I peeled membranes off some stragglers, and then went to work on the boiled ones. What I ended up with was a bowl of nicely peeled, firm but tender, chestnuts, which I was able to put through a food mill and reduce to a sort of dry pilaf consistency.
Cooked, crumbled sausage meat, mirepoix, a small amount of breadcrumbs (maybe a cup and a half), some butter and stock to moisten, and it went into the goose.
Two words: yum.
A bit of a surprise for me, and a far cry from bread stuffing with bits of pencil eraser in it.
Now tomorrow, we crack the code and finally settle the question: what's all the fuss about capon anyway?
"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's bellies."
-- Rabbi Israel Salanter
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