Chestnuts are a favourite Turkish street food in winter, sold from wood-fired braziers by hawkers who probably sell ice cream in the summer.
Bursa, a town near Istanbul, is famous for its chestnuts (and its Iskender kebap— see). It is in the foothills of Mount Uludağ, which has forests full of chestnut trees.
In this meze, I’ve paired the chestnuts with leeks, another winter ingredient. It involves a fair bit of folding, as you’re required to turn a tube into a triangle. Don’t get hung up on a perfect fold. Anything vaguely resembling a three-sided parcel will do, as long as you eat it quickly.
You can use frozen or tinned chestnuts, as long as they are skinned. If using fresh chestnuts, cut a cross in the flat base, place in a saucepan of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to cool, then peel the skin off. Roughly chop the chestnuts.
Remove the roots and green tops from the leeks, then rinse to remove any dirt. Slice down one side of each leek and peel off the outer two layers. Wash these thoroughly, flatten them out and place them across the bottom of a saucepan.
Peel off another four layers of each leek and place in a separate saucepan. Reserve the remaining white centres. Add
Wash the rice under cold running water. Finely chop the cores of the leeks and finely chop the French shallot. Finely crush the garlic. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chestnut pieces and the shallots. Fry for 1 minute, then add the chopped leeks, garlic and the minced chicken and fry for 2 minutes more. Add the rice, then grate in the tomato. Fry for 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste, capsicum paste, spices and cranberries, and stir to combine. Add
Pick up one sheet of leek skin and put a heaped tablespoon of mixture onto one side. Fold the edges over to make a tight triangular parcel. Repeat to stuff the remaining leek skins.
Put the parcels into the first leek-skin covered pan, folded sides down, on top of the spread skins. Pack them in tightly. Add
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat. Add the capsicum paste, pomegranate molasses and salt, and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove the parcels from the pan. Place three parcels on each plate. Drizzle the capsicum sauce over the top and serve.
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