Chestnut puree – Pricing that made me laugh
I am one of those people who firstly buy something interesting and then think what they are going to do with that, at least regarding the food. So I bought two tins of chestnut puree in a supermarket at a discounted price. I am also a savvy and reasonable customer, so if something is too expensive to my taste I tend to avoid it unless I really want the product.
Those two tins were discounted from £2.25 down to £1.13 each. Half price is half price, right? I never paid attention to chestnut puree in the shop as I have never used it and I haven’t come across a recipe that would actually ask for it. I did not even know such product existed, to be honest. I know the chestnuts though. Baked at autumn, sold on the street in a small paper bag to warm cold hands in almost winter weather. We used to bake them at home, too. They are low in energy in comparison to other nuts, but very nutritious because of their rich mineral content such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.
The tins have been resting in the cupboard for a few months. Quite recently I searched online for a recipe that would make a use of at least one of them. It is autumn, it is the time now! So I’ve found the recipe and waited for the right moment of inspiration. There was a bunch of celery sticks in the fridge which needed to be used up quite soon. The recipe included them, so yaay! I hate wasting food.
Then it happened that I paid a visit to the local Co-op supermarket and without particularly looking for it I passed by their discounted shelf. Boom! Chestnut puree tin again. Only one was left. The price? 60p! At that time I did not remember the price of the first two I mentioned above, but this one looked like a good deal. So I bought it as well. I am not a hoarder though. Once I have something I tend to use it to make space for other stuff that will make my life special later. After several months of discovering this product I am finally going to explore what options the chestnut puree can offer to me in the kitchen. Great!
Today I have decided to make that soup I found on the internet. But before reaching for the first tin that would give me a hand shake on the shelf (the one I bought most recently) I reached deeper in to find the older ones whether they needed to be consumed earlier. Then happened what made me to write this trivial piece of article. See yourself:
Would you believe that the Co-op would sell a single tin of this product for nearly a fiver, more than twice than the other supermarket? It was Tesco’s by the way. Even Waitrose (Ocado), more expensive shop, list the same product at £2.36 without a discount. And, to my surprise, the Tesco’s one has the best before day August 2016, but the tin bought in Co-op lists this month which is October 2015. No wonder they were so desperate to get rid of it so cheaply… Now I am asking: did they fraudulently inflate the initial price on the label? I cannot say because they do not seem to stock it at the moment. If somebody has this information please let me know. I am curious. Co-op is not Harrods!
And what soup I have made after all? I took an inspiration from the website, but I made it my own (as almost always).
- Chop an onion and a couple of garlic cloves
- Cook them on oil and add chopped few carrots and celery sticks (4 and 8 in my case)
- Add a liter of stock (I used beef) – adjust to the amount of vegetables. I have probably used more water by heart.
- Cook until the vegetables are soft, then add the chestnut puree.
- Stir. You can add cream or creme fraiche (I used the latter).
- Season. I also used some dried sage. It gives it a fantastic herbal scent.
- Another improvement is a pinch of cayenne pepper for extra spiciness.
- While still hot, throw in about a handful (or two) of tiny pasta, about half inch large/small. It will add something to chew on. Where I come from we do not usually have a smooth blended soup without some hard bits in it.
- Done. After 15 minutes the pasta will be ‘cooked’ in the hot soup – ready to be served and eaten.
Bon apetit. I loved this special soup.