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Wed Feb 14, 2018, 05:55 AM

Vegan Chestnut-Ragout

As the name says: A ragout where the meat is replaced with sweet chestnuts (maroons). It's a dish from the Tessin-region of Switzerland, where chestnuts are a basic component of the diet, like potatoes are elsewhere.

I cannot give exact measurements, how much you will need of what. I cook by feeling. The ingredients are:

* pork-belly, diced to 0.5"-cubes (carnivore-version of the dish only, for the vegan version just skip)

* 2 handfull of sweet chestnuts (maroons), peeled
Fresh ones are best, although the peeling is a lot of work.
You can get peeled, pre-cooked, vacuum-sealed chestnuts. (If they stick together, put them in water.)

* 1 onion, 1-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

* root-vegetables, cleaned and diced (carrots, parsley-root, celery-root, leek... no potatoes!!!)

* mushrooms

* canned tomato

* red wine (~half a glass)

* 1-3 bay-leaves, 1 teaspoon to tablespoon of chopped rosemary-needles, salt, plus whatever else you deem fit (e.g. thyme)

Fry pork-belly until crunchy. Transfer to a dish.

In the same fat, fry the chestnuts (~10 minutes) until they are visibly roasted and caramelized. Transfer to a dish.

In the same fat, fry the onions and garlic. Add the vegetables and mushrooms. (You may need to add a little bit of cooking oil.)

When the vegetables start to soften, add chestnuts, canned tomato, red wine and spices. And maybe a shot of water.

Cook for half an hour to hour. If you used pre-cooked chestnuts more like half-an hour, if you used raw chestnuts more like an hour.

Sprinkle with fried pork-belly on your plate.

If you want more calories, the traditional side-dish is polenta. But I recommend a green salad and some red wine.

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