Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Italian Chestnut and Lentil Stew

When I was recently grocery shopping I came across a display in the isle. You know, the type that you inevitably hit with your cart when rushing through the market? One of the foods featured was a bag of roasted and peeled chestnuts. Being the food dork that I am, I scooped up three bags to take home, not having a clue what I would do with them, but knowing that I would have fun figuring it out.

The last time I made anything with chestnuts was a couple of years ago when I made this Roasted Broccoli with Chestnuts. I used fresh chestnuts that had to be roasted, scored and the shells peeled…very time consuming and messy, not to mention a detriment to my fingertips. Although the end result was well worth the effort, sometimes shortcuts are lifesavers in the kitchen.  These bags of whole chestnuts are already roasted and peeled saving loads of time to get straight to cookin’.
This Lentil and Chestnut Stew is a hearty stick to your ribs but not to your hips meatless meal. Every single ingredient that goes into making it is overflowing with nutrition. By eating this stew, you just cannot help but emit a healthy glow...not a phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark type of glow, but more a “wow, she must eat really healthy” kind of glow.  

The traditional Italian chestnut stew is made with lentils but because I had dried yellow split peas from a local farm, that is what I used and it turned out fantastic. 

A couple of notes:
  • the recipe can easily be transformed into a vegan dish by just omitting the Parmesan.
  • when you have leftover canned tomato paste, keep the rest in a ziptop plastic bag in freezer. Snap off a bit later when you need it.
until next time...
Italian Chestnut and Lentil Stew

  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion (ours from Green BEAN delivery)
  • 1 carrot (also from Green BEAN delivery)
  • 1 rib of celery (yep, also from Green BEAN)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup lentils or split peas (ours from Kimker Hill Farm, St. Clair, MO)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (del Carmen Foods)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (red would be fine too)
  • 1/2 cup chestnuts, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (still growing in the garden)
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary (also in the herb garden)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan and chopped parsley to garnish
Cooking Directions
  1. Pour 3/4 cup of hot water over the porcini mushrooms and let soak for 20 minutes; slice mushrooms and retain the liquid.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  3. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender, about 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  5. Add the mushrooms, their liquid, the lentils (or split peas), stock, wine, chestnuts, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper into the sauce pan and simmer covered until the lentils are al dente, about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and top with parsley and Parmesan.


  1. mmm lentils are one of my favorite meatless meals and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare them!!


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