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Rutabagas and chestnuts are braised with pork for a hearty meal. If fresh chestnuts are not in season, many markets carry canned chestnuts which may be substituted.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 oven-ready pork roast, about 6 pounds (use the shoulder or bottom round)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 onions, coarsely sliced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound peeled chestnuts (see Note below)
  • 3 rutabagas (sometimes called yellow turnips), about 3-1/2 pounds
  • 6-1/2 cups water

Preparation:

Sprinkle the pork with the salt and pepper. Place in a large heavy kettle, fat side down. Add 1/2 cup of water and place on medium heat. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Uncover the meat and keep cooking until all the liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to brown. Brown all around. (This takes about 12 minutes.) Add the onions, 5 cups of water, cover and cook on medium heat for 1 hour. Add the chestnuts and cook covered for another hour.

Meanwhile, peel the rutabagas and cut them into 2- to 2-1/2-inch chunks. Shape the pieces with a small knife so that they are equal in size and cook uniformly. You will have about 2-1/2 pounds left. Add the rutabagas, another cup of water and cook another 45 minutes covered. Taste for seasonings. It probably will need salt and pepper. By this time there should not be much liquid left.

Remove the roast to a serving platter and using a slotted spoon, scoop out the chestnuts and rutabagas and place around the meat. Tip the kettle to one side so that all the juices accumulate in one corner and skim out as much fat as you can. If you have less than 1 cup of juice left, add 3/4 to 1 cup of water to the kettle and boil on high heat for 1 or 2 minutes to melt the solidified juices and to emulsify the juices together. Pour over the meat or in a sauceboat and serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Note: Peeling Chestnuts
When buying chestnuts, watch for little holes which indicate wormy chestnuts. With the point of a sharp paring knife, score each chestnut on both sides. The incisions help the skin release during cooking. Put on a flat cookie tray (the chestnuts should not overlap) and place in a preheated 400-degree F. oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using a towel to avoid burning your hands, peel the chestnuts. Both inner and outer skins should come off. Discard the bad ones. You may lose up to 1/3 of the chestnuts. If you don't want to go to the trouble of peeling chestnuts use the dried chestnuts rather than the canned ones.

Recipe Source: Jacques Pepin Celebrates by Jacques Pepin (Alfred A. Knopf)
Reprinted with permission.

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