It all started when I spotted a big box of chestnuts at the fruit and vegetable shop. Shiny brown little beauties beckoning me to sink my hand in, clutch a big handful and take them home. What could I do with them?
I wanted something that matched the current season. Something that was warming, a little rich and with simple flavours. At first I thought about using some good homemade sausages but when I came across a hunk of smoked pork thigh, or speck, I knew it would go nicely with the chestnuts. Chestnuts and smokey meat? Um, hello!
To keep things earthy and delicious I threw in some thickly sliced leek stems. Whole shallots would be fine, but the flavour of leek goes perfectly with the pork and chestnuts.
I couldn’t help but pretend that I was in some stone farmhouse surrounded by wild rosemary shrubs on the rocky Istrian coastline, pottering away in the kitchen. And yes, those imaginary rosemary shrubs came in handy with this dish as well.
If only that was how things happened.