Mireille's Musings - December 9, 2010


Memories and Cooking Tips for a French Winter Treat

It’s chestnut season. It’s more than a little pleasure to be out in the cold and eat some hot chestnuts in a paper bag. Memories from my student days in Paris. Nothing has changed except for a fancier cart as this one seen on a chilly October afternoon at the start of the holiday season. Chestnuts are the festive fruit par excellence.

At home, we did roast them as well and they were probably better than the ones bought on the streets of Paris, but the atmosphere was not the same. We ate them throughout winter mostly as an accompaniment to chicken or other white meat and also with vegetables, particularly salsifis and celeriac but mostly mushrooms. With the abundance of wild mushrooms, mother would often make the following Sunday supper: a poêlée de champignons (3-4 kind of mushrooms) simply sautéed in a bit of olive oil and butter with shallots and parsley to which she would add chestnuts that had slowly been roasting in foaming butter. Some freshly ground pepper, a nice slice of country bread, a salad of mâche for color and contrast, and voilà. The treat for some Sunday lunches was dessert with chestnuts: dark chocolate or pears or sometimes both. Yummy.

Additional chestnut recipes:

Chestnuts and Honey
Chestnut Soup
Chestnut Soup with Chocolate Garnish
Ardèche Coffee