Chestnuts add a sumptuous sweetness to Mary Gwynn's seasonal, healthy stew. It's worth using fresh if you can, but frozen or vacuum packed work just as well.
- CourseMain meal
- Prepare15 mins
- Cook45 mins
- Total time1 hr
Peel the chestnuts if needed (see tips), then roughly chop to give 150g. Put the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan with the pancetta, onion, celery, carrot and garlic and cook over a low heat for 5-8 minutes, until softened. Add the pumpkin and chestnuts, stir to coat in the oil and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the rosemary, passata, 100ml water and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the pumpkin is just tender and the chestnuts are cooked.
Add ½ the borlotti and cannellini beans and ½ their juices to the pan, return to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes more. Process the vegetables coarsely with a handheld blender or mash with a vegetable masher, leaving plenty of texture. Add 300ml water and bring to the boil.
Stir in the remaining beans and juices, then simmer for 3-4 minutes. Spoon into warm bowls and serve with extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, the cheese and bread.
If using fresh chestnuts, score each one around the middle. Place on a plate in batches of 6-8 and microwave on high for 1 minute 30 seconds. The skins should come off easily – if not, return to the microwave for another 30 seconds. Leave until cool enough to peel. This won’t fully cook the chestnuts, just loosen the skins.
If you don’t have a microwave, score the chestnut skins, then cook them in a large pan of boiling water for 3 minutes to loosen the skins. Run under cold water before peeling.
Alternatively, use 150g cooked chestnuts from a 180g pouch, roughly chop and add to the pan at the same time as the beans.
This stew is even better the following day. Add shredded cavolo nero or spinach to any leftovers with some stock and reheat for a warming soup.