Oh the idea of making roasted chestnuts sounds so nostalgic, so heartwarming. I had no idea that it would be this challenging. Now for most people with a whole set of sharp knives and strong fingers, you probably will not find it as challenging as I did. You can read all about my knife issues on The Food Network’s Community Forum. I only have one good knife, it is much bigger than a pairing knife which is way more ideal for this job. My poor knife is in desperate need of professional sharpening. Alas, the only place in town that does sharpening has closed until mid-January.
Normally you are supposed to score the flat site of the chestnut with an X but I scored any part that I could without causing myself bodily harm. Once they are scored, pre-heat the oven to 375F and roast the chestnuts for 15 minutes until they split:
They look deceivingly easy to remove those shells now, don’t they? You are supposed to remove the shells quickly right after they come out of the oven.
With my tiny kid-like weak fingers there was no way I was going to be able to do that so I took out my handy rolling pin and got cracking.
Not exactly the beautiful sight of perfectly whole chestnut that was in my brain as I started this little holiday foodie journey, LOL. But! I could finally get the chestnuts out of their shells:
Deliciously woodsy in flavour, now I had to figure out what the heck I was going to do with them. First step? Turn them into candied chestnuts!
So timely!! I *almost* got some chestnuts this PM at my fav. natural foods grocery (local, yet; we still have a few chestnut trees!) but didn’t – now I’ll have to!
& they just began stocking chestnut flour in the Gluten free section – I bet I could roast, then whir in my processor when they were cool, (& peeled) & freeze any I didn’t use . . .
Gluten Free Girl has recipes for Raglach & cinnamon rolls – did you know only ~ 5% of folks with celiac/sprue are diagnosed?? & I’d bet more have gluten sensitivity than anyone knows!
Suzie Ridler says
Chestnut flour? Now I have heard of everything! I hope you try roasting the chestnuts, as challenging as it was it was also very cool and I am just going to post now about making rugelach with the candied chestnuts!
Where do you buy the chestnuts? I never bought or roasted a chestnut before.
Suzie Ridler says
My Superstore even has them at this time of year with all their nuts-in-a-shell Helene. I saw them just today. They were too tough on my hands last year to try them again this year.
Oh, I feel for you. They are TOUGH buggers!! I have killed my fingers on them and even a sharp knife doesn’t seem to be enough… I have read somewhere about soaking them to make them easier to peel… but that doesn’t go with roasting them. Candied sounds like a fun project to try. I used to use them in stuffing for turkeys.