Chestnut Purée from England

Sutil Brouet d’Engleterre

The lady of the house is being served a platter of small birds to a chorus of trumpets. Medieval nobles loved to dine to the sound of music.

A brouet, or purée, could contain almost anything – meat, fish, or fowl. This brouet made of chestnuts (purée de marrons) is still a popular accompaniment to game in Europe.

Take cooked peeled chestnuts, and cooked egg yolks, and a little pig’s liver and pound all together, soften the mixture with a little warm water and sieve it, season with long pepper and saffron and boil all together.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb /1 kg chestnuts
  • pints/3 cups/750 ml water
  • 4 hard-boiled/cooked egg yolks
  • 8 oz/250 g pig’s liver, cut in pieces and any membrane discarded
  • 2 tsp pepper, or to taste
  • pinch of saffron, infused in 2 tbsp boiling water
  • salt, to taste

Method

  1. Pierce each chestnut with the point of a knife, put them in a saucepan with water to cover and bring to the boil. Drain them a few at a time and peel them, removing both shell and inner skin. If the chestnuts become hard to peel, bring them just back to the boil, but do not let them cook.
  2. Put the peeled chestnuts in a pan with the water, cover and simmer until the chestnuts are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain them, reserving the liquid. Purée them in a food processor or a blender a little at a time with the hard-cooked/boiled egg yolks and pig’s liver, adding just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to make a purée that will drop from the spoon. Return the purée to the pan, add the pepper and saffron with its liquid, and heat, stirring constantly. Cook the purée 4-5 minutes – it should just hold a shape, but as it dries add more cooking liquid if necessary. Taste it for seasoning; it should be quite peppery.