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What to substitute for chestnuts?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 OliverB

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:37 PM

I'm planning our Valentines dinner and part will be a nice beef roast that's supposed to be with chestnuts and Brusselsprouts, but I can't find chestnuts anywhere. I'll try an other large Safeway and a NobHill and maybe call TJs but I haven't seen their frozen ones in a while. Whole Food told me that they're not in season (isn't that why we can things, so we have them out of season?) and they're all out of the jars.

Any idea what I could substitute? They're just boiled chestnuts that will be sliced and plated around the beef.

Thanks!

oliver

:edit:
I could find chestnut paste, if anyone has an idea how I could turn this somehow into "chestnuts" or slices thereof somehow, that would be great too. It was in a solid can so I could not see what consistency it has. Maybe if I add chestnut flour - if I can find that?

One of these things, see them all the time and when I need them I can't find them anywhere....

Edited by OliverB, 13 February 2009 - 02:47 PM.

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#2 Qwerty

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 02:57 PM

Well, if they are just boiled and sliced around the beef, does it really matter if they are omitted? Doesn't sound like they are integral to the dish.

I know that a lot of different kinds of nuts go with brussels sprouts. Pecans are great IMO.

#3 OliverB

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:04 PM

They could be left out, but it's a pretty minimalist dish already. I'm thinking of trying the paste if I can't find the real thing. Thinking that a "spreadable chestnut" might actually be quite good. Of course, I have no idea if there's a ton of sugar or who knows what in that paste, it's in the baking aisle at Whole Foods.

I have pecans in the menu already, I guess I could add them here too in some variation and carry them all the way through to dessert. Could be interesting.

Thanks!
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#4 mkayahara

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:17 PM

Cans of pureed chestnuts are usually available both sweetened and unsweetened, so just make sure you read the label. I think that the sweetened version is usually called "chestnut paste" and the unsweetened one "chestnut puree," but I'm not 100% sure about that.

The other option would be to try an Italian market, since they often have chestnuts in various forms. I use vacuum-sealed ones to make soup, but I'm not sure how well they would slice.
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#5 John DePaula

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:41 PM

Hazelnuts or Pecans should work well, and personally I think they'd be preferable...
John DePaula
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#6 OliverB

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:49 PM

interesting ideas, thanks!

Oliver
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#7 ruthcooks

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:00 PM

Add toasted pecans and browned butter to the Brussels sprouts, it's no longer a ho-hum dish.
Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

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#8 OliverB

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:12 PM

also sounds yummy, not sure it would work here. It's a menu from Food&Wine magazine and I'm going to have the sprouts taken apart as leaves, some asian pear with the chestnuts (if I can find them). Pecans might work as well though.
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#9 Reignking

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:30 PM

Sounds like a problem that I had at Thanksgiving, regarding this recipe. We finally found some, but we had to shell them -- NOT worth it. I could've used any other nut or omitted it.

I have, since then, found them at World Market; they come in glass jars. If I were you, I wouldn't bother. I'd go with pecans, otherwise.

#10 OliverB

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:58 PM

It's more that - on the rare occasion that I do cook after recipes - I prefer to do it as written. I won't make a big deal of it, my wife might be able to pick some up on her way home tonight, otherwise I have pecans. But you mentioning that world market, we have a cost plus and a pier one, I might just check those, they always surprise me with the oddball things they stock.

Thanks all, I think I'm all set now, either chestnuts or we'll go with pecans.

By the way, TJ's at least sometimes has roasted chestnuts in shells in the freezer. Those are really quite good, you do have to shell them, but it's pretty easy, as they're all split open. And - at least so far - I've not gotten any with "free meat", i.e. worms in them, which tends to happen with the ones you can sometimes buy fresh in bulk. And it's NO fun to open one of those to find nothing but a - - - well, I'll spare you all ;-)
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#11 Jamon.Iberico

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:42 PM

Having had Brussels sprouts every way imaginable (including with chestnuts, water chestnuts, and every other nut on the face of the Earth) and have deemed walnuts to be my ideal accompaniment. Walnuts, bacon and Brussels are a threesome created in heaven, I'm certain.

#12 OliverB

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 09:44 AM

that sounds great too! I love roasting them too.

But back to the chestnuts, I managed to find some, but still thanks to all the replies here, some good ideas! I might even add pecan as an alternative today, as I'm curious about the different combinations.

Happy V-day to all!

Oliver
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#13 Dejah

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:25 AM

Late in reply, but Asian markets usually have dehydrated peeled chestnuts, and unseasoned peeled roasted chestnuts sold as snacks. The roasted ones would certainly have worked in your Valentine supper.
Dejah
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#14 OliverB

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 10:50 AM

interesting, thanks! The Italian Deli here only has them around x-mas, would not have thought of the Asian market for these. I'll check next time I'm there.
"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"
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