Energetic and vegetarian, this rice and chestnut recipe was dug from the old Catalan tradition and its Catalan name is as stratightforward as its preparation: Arros amb Castanyes, which in English is simply: Rice with Chestnuts.
I learned this recipe from Barcelona-born Manuel Vazquez Montalban, who was the creator of the Pepe Carvahlo crime series, an impressive gourmand detective! The author himself was an extraordinary gastronome and calls this chestnut recipe archaeological. He used to call archaeological those old recipes that home cooks have almost forgotten and which are at risk of disappearing completely.
The recipe is actually very easy to cook but you have to roast the chestnuts first, something you can do easily and in twenty-five minutes or less. This rice recipe with roasted chestnuts is ideal for the fall when the cold starts and you feel that you need a nourishing meal to warm you up. In any case, the chestnuts season lasts until the end of January so you don’t have to restrict eating chestnuts to the fall. I will help to keep it alive. Will you too?
- 1 1/2 cup rice or 11 ounces or 300+ g
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 20 roasted chestnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 inches cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 7 cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 3 corns pepper
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
How to Prepare Rice and Chestnut Recipe
- First of all, roast the chestnuts in the oven, peel them and set aside.
- Skin and finely chop the onion and bring the water to a boil.
- Heat the olive oil in an earthen casserole or Dutch oven. When it’s hot, add the chopped onion. When the onion turns golden, add the hot water, the roasted chestnuts and the salt. Stir briefly. Bring the water to a boil, and cook uncovered for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Add the rice and all the spices and stir briefly. Check that the rice is nicely covered with water. If not, add a little more water so that the rice doesn’t become dry.
- Cook uncovered for about 8 more minutes. Cover and turn heat to low. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes.
- Turn off heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. The chestnut recipe has then time to develop its natural forest aromas to the fullest.