The chestnut in Portugal
For many centuries, Portugal did not know what potatoes were, but there were other fruits with the same role. One of them is the chestnut. Besides being a seasonal fruit, the chestnut may be easily preserved for some time and be used in several recipes.
As the potato arrived in Portugal, the chestnuts gradually became more of an appetizer, instead of the main ingredient of the traditional recipes. But as the chestnuts are still highly consumed during the autumn season, there are some dishes people may try to do.
Whoever likes to cook knows that there is an infinity of cake recipes that explore the most varied ingredients. To make a chestnut cake it is required to boil the fruit first in hot water with some fennel to spice up the flavours. After boiling the chestnuts, they must be peeled and smashed and turned into a puree. Then, the chef may use the most common cake recipe, mixing egg yolks and butter, then mixing it with sugar, flour, and the chestnut puree. Then the previously beaten egg whites must be added gently to the rest of the mixture and taken into the oven.
Here people may be a little bit more creative and make a sweet or salty recipe, and all people need are chestnuts and shortcrust pastry, for the base.
Once again making a puree of chestnut is the key, but some of them may be saved to keep them and use and decoration. With the right amount of sugar, it is possible to make a pie that will look caramelized and be a great appetizer to serve with a cup of tea. However, it could be a great starter if in the pie the cook adds cheese, mushrooms or even spinach leaves.
Soup is probably one of the easiest dishes to make, combining vegetables and making a tasty soup is always important, as many nutritionists mention. But what if chestnuts are added to the recipe? Think about the most regular soup, the one people do regularly with carrots, pumpkin, and other vegetables. Some people use potatoes in their soups but may try to replace them with chestnuts, which will make the soup creamier and a little bit sweeter.
Some chefs make the soup only with chestnuts, onions, and garlic, adding a bit of cream, to make the soup extra creamy and delighting those who taste it.
Adding it to your roast
It is very common in Portugal to add chestnuts to roasted food, namely pork meat. The fruit will absorb the taste of the juices the meat will create. People just need to prepare the meat as usual add chestnuts to the tray and wait for the food to be done.
During the year, in supermarkets, there are sold frozen raw peeled chestnuts, which may make all the recipes easier. Even though they are a bit more expensive than regular chestnuts, it may help those who do not like to peel chestnuts, as it can be a hard task!
Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463.