Winter makes me think of chestnuts and it is fun to utilize them in a side dish rather than just snacking on them roasted, though that can be fun too. Once kumquats come in season, they are hard to resist!
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 pounds new potatoes, quartere12 kumquats, quartered, innards removed and discarded, skins reserved [Tip: if kumquats are not available, use the peel of another citrus such as a tangerine, Clementine or Mandarin orange. Cut the pith from the peel as much as possible and then cut into small strips.)
- 1/2 pound chestnuts (about 12), peeled and shelled (to shell, score one side with a knife, toast until skin curls back and then when cool enough to handle, remove shells)
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 425° F.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon, drain on a paper towel and reserve the rendered fat. Toss the potatoes with the bacon fat and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to a non-stick baking sheet and bake until tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place kumquat skins, orange juice, vinegar and sugar in non-reactive saucepot. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer until the skins are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove skins with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the shelled and peeled chestnuts to the liquid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for about one hour or until the liquid has reduced by 3/4 into thick syrup, and the nuts are tender and break into bits with the nudge of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss the roasted potatoes with the reserved bacon and kumquat peels. Place on a serving platter and top with the chestnut confit.