Gnocchi with Prunes, Chestnuts and Bayonne Ham; Teddy Bear Parade

I like chestnuts.

I love chestnuts when I’m walking through a Christmas market in late December with a light snow falling, holding onto a cone of hot, freshly roasted chestnuts…. Peeling and nibbling as we stroll past the stalls.

I like them a lot when I’m roasting them in my fireplace, in front of the Christmas tree, watching old movies with mon mari and sipping wine…. While we peel and nibble.

When they come in a jar, already cooked and peeled, I merely like them.

That being said, I had a jar in the pantry that has been in said pantry for a few years.

It was due to expire at the end of this month.

I couldn’t stand to let it just slip into the trash oblivion.

But it was a big jar…. A really big jar.

I’ve been working them into everything for the past few days.

This was a hit….

Think of the little toothpick nibbles at cocktail parties – a chestnut and a prune, wrapped in bacon and broiled.

This is a simple dish, with no other seasonings or flavors added…. Taste each ingredient…

 Gnocchi with Prunes, Chestnuts and Bayonne Ham

Total time: 25 minutes 


  • 20 – 24 fresh gnocchi   1/3 of a package 
  • 3/4 cup peeled, chestnuts, cut in quarters
  • 3 slices Bayonne or other dry-cured ham, torn into pieces
  • 6 prunes, pitted and cut into thirds
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Gnocchi with Chestnuts, Prunes and Ham


  • Heat water in a medium pot for gnocchi.
  • When boiling, add the gnocchi and cook just until they all float, 1 – 2 minutes.  Drain.
  • Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add gnocchi and sauté until light brown, stirring and turning occasionally, 12 – 15 minutes.
  • Add ham, chestnuts and sauté until ham starts to get crisp.
  • Add prunes and heat through.
  • Serve.

Way back in the beginning of time, the local department store in Minneapolis, Dayton’s, offered a Santa Bear for sale at Christmas. You can seem him, sitting on the floor with his cap and scarf.


I liked him….

He was cute.

The next year there was another, different Santa Bear for sale at Dayton’s.

I didn’t buy it.  I thought it was a bit expensive and not very cute.  I bought a Christmas rabbit instead.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Over the years I bought more Christmas bears and bunnies, as well as had many given to me.

It would seem I have a collection….

I used to put them under the Christmas tree.

That’s not possible with the puppies our dogs.

This is the first year they’ve been unpacked since we moved here, 4 years ago.


I thought, for the safety of the teddy bears, I would put them in the two rooms that the dogs aren’t allowed in.

They can see them though…. And watch them very carefully.

If my teddy bears start roaming the house at night I’ll know.

Comments 10

  1. Chestnuts really are grand and I love them too! I used a few in my last spinach & artichoke dip, they were fabulous!
    Love the teddy bears and bunnies. I worry most about the bunnies roaming the house, the dogs don’t chase bears do they?

  2. Tanna, no, the doggies are afraid of the bears. I’m sure that has nothing to do with mon mari teasing them with the bears….
    Pam, now’s the time!
    manningroad, yes, and they’re glad to be out of their sacks, as well.
    Margarita, it brings out the inner child ;-))
    Elizabeth, we stopped the big gift exchange a few years ago – the teddies are very nice under the tree – when the doggies are older.
    Zoomie, I think this is definitely the year! The Return of the Teddies!

  3. Oh Katie – I love chestnuts too. One year I made this wonderful soup with them – now I’m wondering – where did I put the recipe? LOL on the teddy bears – and the dogs …. despite my moving around – I still have some of my fav toys – tho’ one day I will give them to my grand niece – but that’s not until I’m at least 90 years of age – when I’m older 🙂

  4. We just plain forget to COOK with chestnuts. This is a great combination, Katie. I also use them for soup with pumpkin, in a stuffing, or in these chickpea cookies, too. happy holidays from the ‘hood!

  5. Anna, the teddy bears stay with me LOL I make chestnut soup, too!
    Kate, I’ll add them to the pumpkin soup! Great idea. Happy holidays back at’cha

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