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Pork and Chestnut Goulash

I hate shelling chestnuts. I always end up with sharp bits of shell poking the tender flesh beneath my fingernails until it hurts and bleeds. This is unappetizing, but true.

I love eating chestnuts, though. I was raised on chestnut puree as a snack food of choice, after all.

So when I came across this recipe, I hunted around until I found pre-roasted, pre-shelled, vacuum-packed chestnuts. Sound terrible, don’t they? Thing is, they were wonderful, just perfect, and I couldn’t tell the difference when they were cooked into this goulash.

Pork and Chestnut Goulash
(from this recipe)
2 lbs pork (shoulder or butt), cut into 1″ cubes
1 lb chestnuts
3 onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
3 tsp all-purpose flour
3/4 C hard cider
3/4 C chicken stock
Pinch of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

First, roast your chestnuts. (I cheated – I bought pre-roasted, pre-shelled, vacuum-packed chestnuts. This goes against everything I believe in, aside from my belief that it is best to avoid shelling nuts until you bleed underneath your fingernails if at all possible.)

Sear the pork in a bit of oil in a hot pan until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown the onions in the same pan, adding butter if necessary (it was, for me). When they’re done, add the flour and paprika (and still more butter, perhaps) and cook for a few moments.

Either transfer everything to a Chinese sand pot (my favorite cooking vessel), or add all the other ingredients to the pan. Remember to reduce the quantity of liquids if necessary such that they don’t come up higher than halfway up the meat. Simmer, covered, for an hour or two, or until sufficiently tender. Stir in the chestnuts.

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9 Responses to “Pork and Chestnut Goulash”

  1. lance says:

    I stopped eating those lovely roasted chestnut because of the peeling of the shell. Couple days ago, a friend bought some and watched me crazily peeling the shell. She then showed me her “whole intacted piece”!!!! What!!!! How did you do that!!!! She bites the flat part gently and works her way circular till both upper and lower jaws reaches the points (ends)and the shells breaks right in half and she pulls out the chestnut whole. Amazing. I tried it and it worked. After she left it still worked but the chestnut would break in half with the shell. Still got to work on my technique. Try it. I hope that works for you.

  2. deinin says:

    Oh, I know just how you feel about peeling chestnuts! My family usually pigs out once or twice ever late autumn by roasting a huge lot of chestnuts and eating them with butter and salt. That’s the whole meal. Yum. But then the next day my fingers are in such pain.

    Over here, I found vacuum-packed chestnuts once, used them in a fabulous stew, and then never saw any ever again. Agh! Maybe it’s time to look again, because that goulash is making my mouth water…

  3. Brilynn says:

    A couple months ago I wanted to make my own chestnut puree and make a cake with it. I’ve never actually had chestnut puree before, I just decided I wanted to make it because I thought it sounded good. My the time I got around to actually starting to make this cake, my chestnuts had gone bad, so I bought some more and the same thing happened. Then I gave up. But I still think that it might happen at some point. It would probably be more likely if I had some of those vacuumed packed chestnuts…

  4. Freya says:

    Love the addition of the chestnuts. Think I’d cheat and use vacuum packed ones! Goulash is one of my favourite suppers!

  5. Ellie says:

    I absolutely adore chestnuts and grew up on roast chestnut and honey mash :D I usually peel mine with a knife to save the fingernails though! Once ours come back into season, I’ll have to give this a try as it looks deliciously thick and hearty!

  6. [...] Pork and Chestnut Goulash – a unique twist on a classic [...]

  7. Yvo says:

    Mmm, yummy. In Turkey, every block had at least one cart selling roasted chestnuts. They smelled good but the sight of the guys peeling them, not so appetizing. :) I can almost smell this…

  8. Danielle says:

    lance – What an interesting technique! I’ll try it out next time. Thanks!

    deinin – Your tradition sure sounds fun, if painful.

    Brilynn – I’ve never actually made chestnut puree. We’ve always bought it in cans.

    Freya – I so appreciate the moral support with the cheating!

    Ellie – Ooh, chestnut and honey mash sounds just lovely.

    Yvo – I want to go to Turkey someday, oh yes.

  9. Elisa says:

    Sometimes the chesnut sellers outside of chinese markets have these incredibly useful plastic peelers (that look sort of like a guitar pick with a little serrated lip) that somehow manage to take the skins with the shells (at least when they are still warm).

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