This paté is an alternative to conventional chestnut stuffing, that mainstay accompaniment to roast turkey at Christmas. Here's a much simpler recipe than usual, producing a smooth, rich chestnut paste with an intense flavour. The recipe is extremely simple but the results astounding. The source is a recipe book dating from around the second world war and handed down through the generations.
Warning: This is a very rich paste so the amount given here will serve up to six people.
Salt and pepper
Cut the tops off the chestnuts or slit them on the flat side, then roast them at 200°C for 20 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off both layers of skin and cut them into chunks.
Place the chestnut chunks into a pan, cover them with milk and simmer until you have a thick paste and the chestnuts are soft. Use a largish pan to avoid the milk boiling over.
Mash the resulting paste or pass it through a sieve or use a stick blender. Add a good-sized knob of butter, a quarter-teaspoon of sugar and a little salt and pepper. Mix well. Aim to achieve a sticky paste.
Place the paste in a bowl as shown and put into the oven as your turkey is reaching the end of cooking. Brush on a little turkey juice a couple of times as the paste browns, to keep it moist. The paté is ready when it has a thin dark crust on top.