I am constantly inspired by the women who are from all of the world in my English as a Second Language class. One day during ESL class one of my students brought in a plate filled with the most beautiful brown chestnuts, perfectly roasted and cracked open slightly. I’m not sure why but I’ve never tried making roasted chestnuts before. I guess you hear about it during this time of year when you’re listening to Christmas music but no one really roasts chestnuts anymore, at least not anyone I know. But after tasting them, I’m thinking roasting chestnuts will be a new Christmas-time tradition. They are absolutely perfect, with a warm nutty flavor and just slightly creamy texture. Although, we don’t roast them by the fire like the song suggests (not sure how to do that), we have found a simple and easy way to roast them in the oven in just 20 minutes!
As for roasting chestnuts, there are just a few simple steps:
- to pick out chestnuts, look for healthy, unwrinkled shells and a glossy brown surface.
- using a sharp knife, make an incision, about 1/8-inch deep, horizontally through the flat side of each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut.
- transfer the chestnuts to baking sheet, and roast them in a 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
- While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin. Or let your guests remove the skins, having a discard bowl for the shells near your bowl of chestnuts. (I always like for my guests to have to participate in the meal somehow and use their hands to eat!)
This Christmas we’ll be serving up chestnuts to anyone and everyone who comes to visit! If we don’t eat all of the of roasted chestnuts plain, I have so many ideas for how to use them in recipes. Like Roasted Chestnut soup, a recipe given to me by another student I had from Germany that I still can’t get out of my head! Hopefully, I’ll save some of the nuts and you’ll see Chestnut Soup in the near future.
If you’re looking for a place to buy Chestnuts, I found them at Whole Foods then found them much cheaper at the Oriental Market.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Take a sharp pairing knife and slit a line through the nut's skin horizontally on the flat side of the nut. This will make it easy for the nut to crack open while roasting. Roast the chestnuts for 20 minutes (some larger nuts take a bit longer to crack open). Crack open with your hands, discard skin, and enjoy the golden brown nut in the center.