I really love cooking with friends: to open a bottle, put on some music and start. I like eating, too, of course. ;-). The first October weekend I spent time with my friend Elke. She lives in a beautiful house in the countryside near Brussels. On Saturday she invited friends over for a party. No big dinner preparation, just a casual buffet. We would just look in the fridge and create some hopefully good-tasting dishes: dips, spreads, quiches, salads. We call that creative cooking. It’s always fun, especially if it is accompanied by a nice glass of bubbly.
A huge chestnut tree is growing in Elke’s garden and so we decided to use the chestnuts for a dish. We discussed soup (too many chestnuts needed – they are such a pain to peel …), Marrons Glacé (too complicated and we already bought pralinés at La Cabosse d’Or nearby which should cover the craving for sweet stuff). So after studying the fridge again, we came up with the following idea.
Autumnal Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash
Here is what you need:
- ca. 250 g chestnuts
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 onion
- 200 g cream cheese
- 1/2 a glass of white wine
- fresh rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper
- a package of ready-made puff pastry (or make your own shortcrust, if you want, am sure it will be delicious as well) for a circular tart pan
- A large spoon of olive oil to fry
Roast or boil chestnuts. I admit, we just cut them in halves and cooked them in the microwave. Peel them, cut them in pieces. Wash butternut squash, cut in half and remove seeds. Chop into little cubes. Peel onion and dice.
Sweat onions in olive oil, add squash and stir bit. Then add chestnuts, stir some more. Taste if the white wine is okay. Be thorough! Use the rest to deglaze squash, onions and chestnuts. Put a lid on the pan an simmer at a low temperature until squash is almost done. Add freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and let the mix cool down a bit.
In the meantime, roll the ready-made puff pastry onto your tart pan. Then mix the cream cheese with squash and chestnuts preparation and pour the mixture evenly over puff pastry. Fold in the overlapping pastry. Let it bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes (200°C / 375 F).
The quiche with chestnuts and squash tastes best when served tepid.
Completely unrelated to the Quiche With Chestnuts And Squash, but of course completely related to my dear friend Elke and our happy times, here are some of our Brussels classics. The Belgian capital is absolutely worth a trip. And if you happen to be there you should try:
- Kibbeling and a glass of white wine at La Mer du Nord in Place Sainte Catherine.
- Chocolate … oh my god, where to start? My three favourites are: Pierre Marcolini, Sablon (looking at the windows might give you a kind of Breakfast at Tiffany’s moment, they are like jewels), Neuhaus, Galerie Royale Saint-Hubert (after all, they invented pralines) and Frederic Blondeel, Quai aux Briques (try the pralines flavoured with spices, my favourite is Earl Grey).
- Half and Half at Le Cirio, Bourse (Half wine, half champagne, just like that).
- A Belgian beer at La Morte Subite (I order a Kriek, Elke a Lambic) accompanied by cheese cubes or Tartine aux Fromage Blancs.
- Burn the calories browsing Marché aux Puce at Marolles on Sunday mornings.
- Or climb the Lion in Waterloo.
- Do you still want to go yarn shopping? Kaleidoscope in St. Gilles is the place to go. Beware – amazing choice of yarns.