Chestnuts and chicken liver, mixed together

Chestnuts and chicken liver, mixed together

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

This is inspired by my remembered fondness for chicken braised with dried chestnuts. The flavour of those fragrant chestnuts braised with chicken is blended with the sweet richness of chicken liver and served as an appetiser.

For the sauteed chicken livers


Quantity Ingredient
50ml cognac
1 teaspoon ginger juice, (see glossary)
1 tablespoon thick soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g chicken livers, trimmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the braised chestnuts

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2.5cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
4 chicken wings, chopped
50ml dry sherry
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
250g chestnuts, peeled

For serving

Quantity Ingredient
crusty bread or wafers
coriander, vietnamese mint and spring onions


  1. Saute the chicken livers:
  2. Make a marinade by mixing together half the cognac, the ginger juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Toss in the livers and leave for 1½–2 hours. When ready to eat, take the livers out of the marinade and drain over a sieve. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the livers and brown them on each side for 3–4 minutes until they are crisp on the outside but pink and just cooked through on the inside. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with the rest of the cognac.
  3. Braise the chestnuts:
  4. While the chicken livers are marinating, braise the chestnuts. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat. Drop in the garlic and ginger and fry until they become fragrant. Reduce the heat if they begin to scorch. Add the chicken wings and fry until the skin is golden. Reduce the heat and add the sherry. When the raw alcohol smell has cooked off, stir in 125 ml water and both the soy sauces. Add the chestnuts and cook at a low simmer, covered, for 20–25 minutes or until they become very soft and sweet. Scoop out of the liquid.
  5. Pound the livers and the chestnuts with a mortar and pestle to make a rough paste, adding a little strained liquid if the paste is too dry.
  6. Assemble the dish:
  7. The resulting paste of ground chestnut and liver can be served from a central bowl with crusty bread or crispy wafers of some sort. Garnish with fresh herbs such as a mixture of coriander and Vietnamese mint and shredded spring onions.
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