Chestnuts can be roasted over an open fire, just like in the famous Christmas song, or in your oven or on the stovetop. Regardless of roasting method it is esential that the chestnut shells be scored. The shell, or outer skin, must be cut to allow steam to evaporate. If there isn't an opening to allow the hot water vapor to escape, there will be a buildup of pressure inside the nut and it will explode, with hot shrapnel flying everywhere.
To score chestnuts using a sharp paring knife or specially designed chestnut scoring knife to carefully cut the hull. The shell is not hard like walnuts or pecans. Rather, it's like a thick leathery skin. There are several ways to score the shell. One way is simply cut off a little bit of one end of the globe-shaped nut. Another way is to cut an "x" onto the flat side of the nut. A third way - our preferred way, is to make one long slit across the midsection of the most rounded part of the "globe", like in the picture at left.
It helps to parboil the chestnuts before roasting. Boiling brings out flavor and helps break down the chestnut's carbohydrates before roasting, thus reducing the amount of time and fuel needed for roasting. To parboil, put scored chestnuts in a saucepan, cover with cold water and place on the stove. Bring water and nuts to a boil, reduce heat to a low boil and boil chestnuts for about 5 minutes. Drain. Refrigerate any unused portion.
To roast the chestnuts, place in roasting pan, or spread on a cookie sheet, and allow to cook in a preheated 450F oven for 10-15 minutes. Or, place in a perforated pan and cook over an open fire for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure that all nuts are roasted evenly and don't burn. Another option is to place the nuts in a cast-iron skillet or a wok and roast on the stovetop for 10-15 minutes stirring frequently.
After roasting allow the chestnuts to cool. Then, peel away the shell and inner papery skin, and eat!
How to cook chestnuts, a sample of chestnut cuisine.
Recipe by David Liete, at Simply Recipes.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a side
Castanhas Salteadas com Toucinho Entremeado
1/2 pound thick-sliced slab bacon or pancetta, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 pound pearl onions, scant 1 inch in diameter
1 pound peeled, roasted chestnuts
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
1. Cook the bacon: In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the fat has rendered and the meaty bits start to crisp, about 12 mins. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
2. Blanch and peel the onions. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a medium suacepan of water to a boil. Drop in the onions and blanch for 30 seconds. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drop them in the ice water. Peel the cooled onions by snipping off the tips and removing the outer papery layer. Set aside.
3. Saute onions in bacon fat. Raise the heat under the skillet and put in the onions, sauteing them in the bacon fat, stirring occassionally until they are spotted brown and cooked through, 8-10 mins.
4. Add chestnuts, bacon & honey. Add the chestnuts, cooked bacon, and honey and toss to coat everything in the yummy goodness, but be careful not to break the chestnuts. Season with salt to taste. Put into serving bowl and ENJOY!
The traditional European sweet snack with a distinctively Kentucky twist. Add your favorite aged corn liquor to a simple syrup. Then add enough shelled fresh chestnuts to cover them entirely with the syrup mixture. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside to soak for 24-36 hours. Return to heat and bring to a boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to soak for 18-24 hours. Return to heat and bring to boil, simmer for 5-10 minutes. Then set aside for 10-12 hours, or until chestnuts have been thoroughly saturated with the bourbon-infused syrup. Remove from syrup and place candied chestnuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place in oven on 100 degrees (F) for about 1 hour or until the chestnuts are no longer sticky to touch. OR, SAVE TIME AND EFFORT AND BUY OUR BOURBON-SOAKED MARON GLACE!
See Autumnal Roasted Roots & Chestnuts recipe at http://lepetitoeuf.com/recipes/autumnal-warm-beetroot-and-chestnut-salad/
And more recipes at:
Chestnut Growers, Inc.