Rognons aux Marrons

Which is to say Lambs’ Kidneys with Chestnuts in a Marsala cream sauce, and it is a real recipe, not one that I have invented. I glanced at it years ago in a French cook book and I thought then what a delicious treat it would be. Then I put the book back and I have never been able to find the recipe again, so this is necessarily a reconstruction based on an imperfect memory.


25g butter.

1 tblsp olive oil.

1 onion very thinly sliced.

1 clove garlic, crushed.


Black pepper.

¼ tspn allspice.

½ tspn balsamic vinegar.

6 kidneys, cored and diced.

1 cup whole roast chestnuts, shelled *.

½ cup dry Marsala.

½ cup fresh whole cream.

¼ cup fresh chopped herbs, e.g. parley or marjoram.


Melt the butter and oil together in a sauté pan over a hot flame. Sauté the onions until sot then sprinkle with the garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg and vinegar. Cook, stirring, for t30 seconds then add the kidneys.

Sauté for 7-8 minutes or until well browned and add the Marsala and the chestnuts. Continue to sauté until the wine has almost disappeared then add the cream and the herbs, reserving a pinch or two of herb for garnish. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for a minute or two to reduce and serve.

*. To roast chestnuts, preheat the oven to 220°C. With a sharp knife, score the shell of each nut and place them on a baking dish. Roast for 20-30 minutes until done. Remove the shells when the nuts have cooled sufficiently to handle.

This is a painstaking and very labour intensive task. It is best performed with a friend and a bottle of wine. Just remember that you will need to have one cup of shelled nuts left when you have finished; they are delicious when still warm.

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