Roasting Chestnuts is not as hard as it seems- it's actually pretty simple. This tutorial has some simple directions for how to roast Chestnuts- it's perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas to warm you up in the cold weather!
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My dad doesn't often cook. I'm pretty sure he can, and he certainly made a point to sit down with my Grandma Rose and learn to make her amazing sauce before she passed (it may or may not be in the safe deposit box and with good reason!). When we were kids, he would make us "Daddy Specials" which often consisted of putting some sliced salami on a piece of bread and folding it over into a sandwich or grilled cheese with tomatoes and sometimes bacon. And for as long as I could remember, we always knew winter was here because my dad would roast chestnuts.
In general, I've always been down with trying various nuts (that's what she said!). As a kid, the aspect of cracking into and removing the shells made me feel like an adult and that was so cool. This made me much more open to tasting different types of nuts and Chestnuts quickly became a favorite. There's something about the softer, chewier texture combined with the ever-so-slightest sweet note that makes Chestnuts feel like such a treat.
Oddly, it wasn't until just recently that I made them on my own. I'm assuming it's because my Dad always seems to have some roasted to perfection and ready to go. And he is always willing to share them with me so who am I to say no?
The other day, I saw the giant Italian Chestnuts at the grocery store and I couldn't resist buying them. Luckily, Dad was more than willing to share his tips on how to roast chestnuts and even let me borrow their Chestnut Knife (this guy will work even better!). I strongly encourage you to grab one of these because you have to score the chestnuts to keep them from bursting under the heat and it's very easy to get cut when doing this with a regular knife.
Either way, give them a shot- they're dangerously addictive in the best way possible and make a great snack while you're listening to Christmas carols by your beautifully decorated tree (or basking in the glow of the menorah). Bonus points if you manage to roast them over an open fire, as the song says. I just stick with my good-old-oven.
Other great holiday recipes:
Chestnut Knife (or this one is great too!)
How to Roast Chestnuts
- How To Roast Chestnuts
- When choosing your chestnuts, avoid nuts that have small holes in them, which could indicate worms. The chestnuts should be firm and solid and not feel squishy with air between the shell and the meat because that would indicate that they're old and that there could be mold in them.
- You'll want to make sure that you score the flat side of the chestnut with a knife (or better yet, the chestnut knives linked above) to keep the nuts from bursting under the heat of the oven.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the chestnuts on a baking sheet, with the scored sides up.
- Cooking time will vary based on the size of the nuts- I baked mine for 30 to 40 minutes because they were very large. I would check smaller nuts starting at 15 minutes and go from there.
- You can tell that they're done because the shell around the peeled area begins to peel back a bit.
- Once they're done, you'll peel off the shell and the fuzzy, papery skin and enjoy!
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