Chef Dave’s Favorite Winter Recipe: Chestnut Puree

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Looking to knock it out of the park with that side dish? Our award-winning chef Dave Wenerd has cooked up a recipe just for you. Warning: this soul-warming dish may just outshine the main course.

Winter is the perfect time to get your hands on the humble chestnut. But truth be told—thanks to gourmet stores and well-stocked supermarket shelves—you have a great chance of nabbing this unique ingredient year-round. At The Gables at Chadds Ford, we love chestnuts for their unexpected texture and taste. They’re firm, but a bit spongy inside (think mushrooms), with an earthy, almost sweet taste. When toasted, the flavor is reminiscent of the sweet potato, making them perfect as a puree.

Move over potatoes, parsnips and other creamy sides: the chestnut has come to town! Serve Chef Dave’s easy-to-make puree the same way you’d serve those sides: cozied up to something hearty. Our favorite? A beautifully braised veal shank.

Chestnut Puree

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds peeled chestnuts
  • 6 leek stalks, rinsed until all of the sand is gone
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups white wine
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 quart cream

Method:

  1. Toast chestnuts at 350℉ for 15 minutes.
  2. Roughly chop the leeks, onions, shallots and garlic, and cook in a medium-size sauce pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add the white wine, vinegar and chicken stock, and let simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  4. Add the toasted chestnuts and quart of cream, and let simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  5. Blend until smooth, adding more chicken stock as needed. Note: a Vitamix or similar food processor works best, if possible.

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone