Wine-Braised Chestnuts and Shallots over Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Here's a wonderfully rich but totally vegan dish inspired by the Greek stews called stifado, which are defined by the presence of beautifully caramelized whole, small onions. Chestnuts replace meat, chicken or mushrooms, which are the ingredients stifado is usually made with. This dish can be vegan if you replace the cream in the sweet potato puree with almond milk. It's a great Fall appetizer on its own and perfect for Thanksgiving, too. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 10 small shallots whole
- 2 tbs Greek olive oil
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 5-6 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 allspice berries
- 2/3 cup red wine
- 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar to taste
- 2 cups defrosted shelled frozen or sous vide chestnuts
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup almond milk or heavy cream
- In a medium, wide, shallow pot heat the olive oil and butter and cook the shallots over medium low heat until lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Stir in the garlic.
- Add the chestnuts, wine, vinegar, herbs and spices, and cook until the chestnuts are tender but al dente and the pot juices thick and almost syrupy.
- Remove and cover to keep warm.
- While the chestnut stifado is cooking, preheat the oven to 425F. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and brush with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast face down on a sheet pan lined with parchment until soft, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the sweet potatoes and scoop out the flesh. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Purée, adding the almond milk or cream and remaining olive oil in increments. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve: spread a little of the sweet potato purée onto a plate and spoon the chestnut stifado on top.