Cauliflower Puree with Chestnuts

Over the years, I have noticed many Thanksgiving meals feature cauliflower as a side. This particular preparation feels perfectly festive[ for the holiday, and the turmeric adds some nice color to the white vegetable.]

Yield:
6
Ingredients
  • For the Cauliflower Puree:
  • 2 1/2 pounds cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small dried red chile, broken in half
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallot
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • Scant 1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled ginger
  • Scant 1/4 cup thinly sliced mild to moderately hot fresh green chile
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 scant cup diced plum tomato
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
  • For the Chestnuts:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced peeled ginger
  • 1/4 pound bottled roasted whole chestnuts, halved crosswise and sliced (about 10)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Directions
  • Break the cauliflower into large florets. Trim off and discard the tough outer layer of the core, then cut the tender inside into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

  • Heat the oil in a heavy 6-quart pan over moderate heat until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and dried red chile and cook, shaking the pan, for 1 minute. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger, and fresh green chile and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Stir in the turmeric, tomato and salt to taste.

  • Stir in the cauliflower and stock and cover the pan. Simmer gently until the cauliflower is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. (It's important that the cauliflower cook slowly; otherwise, the liquid will evaporate too quickly, you'll have to add more, and the cauliflower will turn soggy.)

  • Puree the cauliflower mixture in a food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  • Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet over high heat and saute the ginger for 30 seconds.

  • Add the chestnuts, stirring and shaking the skillet, and season with salt. Saute the ginger and chestnuts until golden and caramelized and a little crisp around the edges, about 2 minutes. Transfer the ginger and chestnuts to paper towels to drain.

  • Reheat the puree over low heat and stir in the chives and cilantro. Serve the puree topped with the sauteed ginger and chestnuts.


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