Savoy cabbage praline with chestnut-hazelnut filling

Originally I intended to post this recipe way back in autumn. It was inspired by the most curiously looking oyster mushrooms I’d ever seen and hence could walk past. The first savoy cabbage made an appearance as well as one of my season’s favourites: chestnuts!

However, time went by and I started to think about Christmas and what to cook and remembered how incredibly delicious these parcels were (honestly, I sat in awe in front of the empty plate, wondering how I possibly could have  created something like this). To me this would just be the perfect main dish for a vegetarian (or vegan) Christmas dinner. And of course they would also make a wonderful side dish – although they pose a real threat to steel the roast’s show.

A note on chestnuts: I used pre-cooked, vacuum-packed chestnuts, because I had just used up all the fresh ones I bought this autumn (cauliflower and chestnut puree with butter roasted chestnuts on top became a new favourite side dish of mine). And I have to admit that for many, many years I shunned the effort to peel fresh chestnuts, especially since a few years ago my family brought back lots of them from a hiking trip to the ‘Pfalz’ (a German region in the south-west) where one can collect them in the woods. Peeling them turned out to be quite horrific and ended up with a lot of pain from under our fingernails. This year however I learned the perfect trick how to get rid of that nasty peel (it’s the skin underneath the shell that is making this a though one). Make a cross-cut in the flat side of the shell and then SOAK them in some water for at least an hour before you roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes (at ca. 200°C). After that treatment the peeling really is much easier.

Savoy cabbage pralines with a chestnut-hazelnut filling on oyster mushrooms (this recipe will make 4-5 pralines)

1 savoy cabbage

350g oyster mushrooms

130g hazelnuts

200g chestnuts

2 red onions

butter or coconut oil (for a vegan version)

sea salt, black pepper, nutmeg, thyme

kitchen string

Soak 100g of the hazelnuts overnight in water.

Wash the large, outer leaves of the cabbage and cut out the very though stalks at the bottom with a V-cut, but try to keep the leaf as intact as possible. Blanch the leaves for no more than 3 minutes in salted, simmering water and then place them immediately in a bowl of very cold water water or rinse them with cool water in order to stop the cooking process and the keep their green colour.

Purée the soaked hazelnuts with 150ml fresh water. Add 150g of the chestnuts and purée them as well, but leave them a little chunky. Chop 300g of the oyster mushrooms and sauté them in a pan with 1/2 tbsp of butter, salt and pepper. Mix with the puree and generously season with nutmeg.

Finely slice the onions. Using a thick bottomed pan on low temperature, melt a tbsp of butter and very slowly roast the onions. This will take 20-25 minutes. They will slowly soften and become translucent – you can salt them then – and then will turn crispy and brown, but be careful not to burn them.

In the meantime pat dry the cabbage leaves and place three leaves on top of each other so that they are overlapping in the middle. Place 2-3 tbsp of the filling in the middle, form a parcel and bind it up with kitchen string. Place the parcels on a baking tray, sprinkle with a little oil and roast in the oven at 180°C for about 15 minutes in the oven (the cabbage should not dry out too much).

Savoy cabbage praline

Cut a few of the remaining hazelnuts in halves, roast all of them in a pan and set aside. If the remaining chestnuts are very big, half them as well and sauté them together with the whole oyster mushrooms you have left in 1/2 tbsp of butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the mushrooms and the chestnuts on the plate, place the parcels on top and generously sprinkle with onions and hazelnuts.