A few weeks ago I got to pop along to a Christmas in July event hosted by Merchant Gourmet. Like me, you may know them better for their pre prepared Puy lentils which are amazing to add in salads but they have a bigger range of products which include whole chestnuts and chestnut puree. The aim of the event was to inspire us to use chestnuts in our cooking; I first tried a chestnut either last Christmas or the one before and was pleasantly surprised that I actually like them! With such limited experience of them I certainly hadn’t considered using them to cook with!
I took some pictures at the event which are enough to get anyones mouth watering! I also have the recipe for my favourite creation from the lunch!
Roast Cod Squash Bacon and Chestnuts with Lemon and Butter
“This is a glorious combination of sweet, succulent and salty with the butter giving it a smooth finish and the lemon adding a sunny smile.” By Merchant Gourmet Cook, Alex Mackay
Meal Type: Main
Cooking Time: 30-60 minutes
Dietary Options: Gluten-free
3 tbsp vegetable oil (you could use goose fat for a little treat)
12 shallots, peeled
Half an average sized (1kg) butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, cut to roughly the same size as the chestnuts
1, 180g pouch of Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts, separated
150g bacon lardons
120g unsalted butter
1, 20g-25g bunch (average supermarket size) of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked from the stalks
4 filets of cod, 150g each, skin on (you could also use pollock or hake)
Zest of 1 lemon and 2 tbsp juice
2 tbsp water
Salt, black pepper and sugar
Prep ahead: The shallots, squash and chestnuts can be prepared, up to the point of roasting, hours or even a day ahead.
Pre-Heat your oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8, upper middle shelf. Boil your kettle. Put a bowl next to your cooker to drain fat into.
Heat a low sided baking tray just large enough to hold the vegetables with 1 and 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil, for 5 minutes in the oven.
Add the shallots and squash to the baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and toss them until they are well coated with the oil. Roast for 15 minutes, turning the vegetables once and basting with a heatproof brush. Add the chestnuts, a third of the butter and the bacon. Roast for 7-10 minutes more or until golden.
Get a large frying pan very hot with 1 and 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil. Season the cod. Fry on the flesh side over a very high heat for for 2 minutes. Lower the heat slightly, drain the fat into the bowl next to your cooker, add a third of the butter and fry for a further 2 minutes, turn the cod then fry for 3-4 minutes until the skin is crisp and the cod is just cooked through.
Put the cod on top of the roasted vegetables and chestnuts. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and water to the pan. Bring to the boil. Stir in the remaining butter and the parsley. Turn off the heat, season to taste.
Spoon the cooking juices over everything except the cod skin. Serve from the baking tray.
…and Enjoy 🙂