Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Chestnuts and Savoy in Cream and Juniper

I've been thinking about making something like this since we went shopping at the weekend, and tonight all the parts collapsed together to make a fantastic scrobbly combination of tastes and textures. It's an unholy union of a Nigel Slater cabbage recipe with a sprouts dish we make at Christmas. We had to use dried chestnuts, rehydrated by soaking overnight and then boiled for 45 minutes until cooked, but in the UK I used to easily find tinned or vacuum-packed chestnuts. Juniper berries were also a bit of a pain to track down over here, but eventually I found them in our local 'combined market' - a sort of cheap warehouse where the main floor sells veg and staples, and the side stands include a deli and a butcher. Neither are substitutable, I'm afraid!


  • 1 tsp juniper berries
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/4 large Savoy or other very good winter cabbage
  • 300g peeled, cooked chestnuts, broken up into large pieces
  • 75g coppa or your favourite Italian smoked meat
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)

Crush the juniper berries and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until they are a mulch. Wash the cabbage and thinly slice into long strips. Blanch in boiling water for just one minute, then immediately drain. In the pan that you cooked the cabbage, gently fry the juniper berry and peppercorn mulch in a little olive oil until fragrant. Return the cabbage to the pan, along with the chestnuts, coppa, cream, honey and salt. Warm through and immediately turn off the heat. Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

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