I had no idea what I was going to do with my ingredients before I made this! It was a case of needing to use up festive leftovers and going by instinct and improvisation alone!
I think it turned out pretty well. There are a few tweaks I’d make next time:
I had a white cabbage knocking about but a dark green savoy would’ve been better.
I had a bag of raw chestnuts to use up but a vacuum-pack would’ve been just as tasty and an awful lot less mess and faff!
I had unsmoked streaky bacon but smoked would definitely have added more flavour. If you’re on a health kick, you could use a leaner cut instead.
Anyway, it just goes to show you really can make a decent meal from odds and ends.
1 small cabbage, shredded
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 pack streaky bacon, snipped into small bits
1 bag chestnuts
4 potatoes, unpeeled and diced into 1cm cubes
1 heaped tsp minced garlic
1 heaped tsp dried sage
A little oil for cooking
Wensleydale with cranberries
Let’s get the chestnuts out of the way first coz they are a bit of a faff. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Carefully (preferably without severing any arteries) cut a little line on the top of each shell and put them all on a baking sheet.
Roast for 10 or 15 minutes, until the skins have started to open. Leave them to cool for 10 minutes so they aren’t too hot to handle. Then shell them. This is the tedious bit coz you have to break off the outer shell as well as the inner furry papery bit. Discard any that are black inside or rock hard.
Or just buy a vacuum-pack of ready cooked chestnuts and save yourself a lot of effort!
Good. Now that’s done, heat your oil in a large pan until it’s very hot. Thrown in the bacon and onion. I used scissors to snip my bacon into little bits but you could buy a pack of fancy lardons.
You want the bacon crispy to the point of nearly burnt. Nobody likes flobby bacon, do they?!
While it’s frying, you have time to prep your other veggies. When the bacon is really crispy, add the potatoes, garlic and sage. This bit probably takes the longest coz you need the potatoes to be nicely sautéed.
Add your cooked chestnuts. I halved mine but you can add them whole or chop them smaller, whichever you prefer.
Finally, add the shredded cabbage. I splashed a bit of water in the pan to stop it sticking and put a lid on to let it steam for a bit, probably a good 10 minutes. The cabbage was cooked but with a little bite to it. Season with plenty of black pepper.
To serve I crumbled the last of our Wensleydale with cranberries on top. This gave it a nice zing and a bit of sweetness.