Edit ModuleShow Tags

How to Get Your Chestnuts Roasting


Published:

Starting in the fall, outside New York’s famous toy store FAO Schwarz, and just south and east of the stonewalls surrounding Central Park, street vendors line the sidewalks. With fingerless gloves and blackened nails, they sell paper bags of chestnuts, roasting, as the song goes, on an open fire (NYC open fires are lined with bits of charcoal in aluminum foil pans).

Roasted chestnuts smell incredible, like autumn and winter mixed with freshly made bread and roasting nuts. They are best served still warm and in the shell. Enjoying them takes a little time. The chestnut eater must slow down a bit to enjoy them, peeling each one individually before moving on to the next morsel.

Around this time of year, grocery stores begin to offer fresh chestnuts for sale. They are not cheap, so inspect them carefully. If you shake a chestnut and the nut rattles around inside the shell, it most likely has dried out and shriveled. Chestnuts spoil easily. Look for signs of mold or black rot. The best chestnuts are plump and large, around the size of a split golf ball or larger. The hard shell should give a little, on the rounded side, when squeezed with force.
 

chestnut

To roast chestnuts at home:

Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.

Next, using a serrated knife, score the chestnuts, cutting an x into the outer shell on the rounded side. If you forget this step, be prepared for the chestnuts to explode in the oven, like popcorn, as the unvented pressure builds within the sealed chestnut.

chestnut

Place the scored chestnuts in a saucepan and fill it with cold water until the chestnuts are just covered.

Bring the cold water to a simmer. Then remove the chestnuts from the water and put them in a pan.

Roast them in a 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the shells have opened and browned lightly around the edges.

chestnut

Serve them wrapped in a kitchen towel. If they cool completely they become hard to peel. Break open the hard shell, exposing the roasted chestnut inside, and eat immediately.

The chestnuts should be soft and chewy, not hard. Often they taste sweet with bits of bitter from charred edges.
 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Pineapple in Every Bite Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Enjoy this twist on the classic cake with chunks of sweet, juicy pineapple maximizing the fruit-to-cake ratio in every taste

3 Drinks to Give Winter the Kiss-Off

West Seventh in St. Paul is bursting with drink options to usher in spring (which is just around the corner, right?)

Minnesota-Grown Greens Now Available Year Round

New locally and sustainably produced Revol Greens makes eating clean and green throughout the year even easier

What to Buy for the Perfect Minnesota Home Bar

From vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, and beyond: Minnesota spirit-makers recommend the best home-bar companions

Quick Moroccan Chicken over Couscous Recipe

Enjoy the exotic flavors of a long-simmered tagine in this easy version that’s quick enough for a weeknight

No-Fail Caramel Corn Recipe

Celebrate National Caramel Corn Day with this sweet crunchy treat—no special equipment needed with this easy recipe

Best Restaurant Bargains Before A Target Field Minnesota Twins Game

They're offering baseball specials, but do you know where to go? Check out these good deals on food before Twins games.

3 Things to Eat This Week: April 4-8

Tropical cake, drinkable flowers, and some mouth-searing spice

Edina Bistro Celebrates National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day

Pinstripes offers a sophisticated twist on the childhood favorite with a five-course meal for two in honor of PB&J Day (April 2)
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags