Friday, December 23, 2011

Pop Go the Chestnuts

Fresh Chestnuts, ready for the oven.
Slice an 'X' through the Chestnut shells prior to roasting. 
Skip this step and you'll be sorry...

Ever roasted chestnuts? Fresh from the oven, with a dash of sea salt, they're quite delightful. And, pretty easy to do, if you follow directions.

Last Christmas, I bought a pound of fresh Chestnuts and decided to give this tradition a try.

The outcome was not nearly as cozy and romantic as I expected. They explode! In unison! When you remove them from a hot oven and they hit the cooler air it's like 4th of July all over the kitchen. So, that was not good. But, the remnants were quite tasty.

Fun Facts to Know and Tell: 
Chestnuts are one of the healthiest nuts you can nibble. Low in calories, low in fat, rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. Nutritionally similar to brown rice...

Blah, blah, blah. I rarely put things on the menu because they're good for you. That's almost always asking for trouble. Since good for you quite often equates to a flavorless mess. But, Chestnuts are different. They have a rich, buttery flavor that can fool you into thinking they're on the do not snarf list.

Our jazzy Christmas table settings.
Roasting Chestnuts:
  • Slice a criss cross into the shells.
  • Place on a baking sheet.
  • Cook in a 375 (F) oven for about 30 minutes
  • The criss-crossed shells will curl back letting you know when they are done.
  • As soon as they're cool enough to touch, pop them out of their shells. (It's a lot easier to remove shells when they're still warm.) 
  • Spritz with a buttery flavored cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle with finely ground sea salt.
What I've learned:
* In the mountains, try a cooler oven. Bake at 375 (F) vs. the 425 you see in directions all over the web.
** No need to soak them in salt water. That's a waste of time since the moisture and salt permeate the shells, not the chestnuts, and you're throwing the shells away.

6 comments:

Yael said...

Kate,

Those chestnuts look sooo yummy. I love the sweetness. Haven't had some in too long a time. Maybe it's time again.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Yael

Alison said...

I did try roasting chestnuts many years ago. It was hard work, especially carving that cross, and they were really hard to get out of the shells. Possibly they weren't fresh. Yours look yummy!

Marguerite said...

They certainly look tasty. I laughed thinking of the scene of them exploding all over the kitchen. Merry Christmas and best wishes in the new year.

guild-rez said...

Kate,
I found your name
Garden Faerie's Musings blog.
Thank you for the chestnut recipe. The last time I bought roasted chestnuts from street vendor in France.
Your blog is very interesting, love your cats:)
- Merry Christmas,
Gisela.

wheatgerm said...

hmmm chestnuts

Rose said...

I've never tried roasting chesnuts before; thanks for the tips. Hope you had a very Merry Christmas, Kate!