This "mushroom roast" offers a sensational alternative to a meat main.
If using fresh chestnuts takes too much time, buy a can or vacuum pack of unsweetened chestnuts and use about 2 cups.
12 large Portobello mushroom caps
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 pounds (1 kilogram) chestnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped fennel
4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped chervil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add Portobello mushrooms to pan and sauté for 1 minute per side or until beginning to soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Repeat with remaining mushrooms, adding more oil to the pan as needed. Lay 6 mushroom caps, gill-side up, on a baking sheet. Set aside.
Score chestnuts with a cross on the rounded side. Place scored chestnuts in a pot of cold water and bring to boil. Boil for 5 minutes to soften skin.
Remove from heat, drain and peel off skins. Finely chop chestnuts.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and fennel and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened.
Combine chestnuts, onions, fennel, breadcrumbs, sage, chervil and apple juice and season well with salt and pepper. Place 3/4 cup of stuffing on top of each of the 6 prepared Portobello mushrooms and top with remaining 6 mushroom caps, gill side down, to make a kind of sandwich. Roast for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is crisp around the edges.