Fresh best quality chestnuts, preferably from Italy
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make an X with a sharp knife in the
flat side of each chestnut. (Or use our brand new item, the
chestnut slitter!) Place in a single layer in a baking pan with
sides. Bake 30-45 minutes, or until they pop open at the slit, and
the skins are turning a little bit brown. Remove from pan to a
towel lined bowl, and cover with the towel and allow them to
stand about 15 minutes before peeling. The outer skin as well as
the thin inner skin should peel off easily.
OR, place slitted chestnuts in a chestnut roasting pan. Over
medium heat, cook and shake until the chestnuts pop open at the
slits and they start to turn a little brown. A little water
sprinkled in with your hands from time to time helps them to
steam open a little better. Wrap as above and enjoy.
To roast chestnuts in the shell. Slash through the shells on the
flat side of the nuts. Place chestnuts, cut sides up, on a baking
sheet. Roast at 400 degrees F (hot oven) until tender - about 20
minutes. Insert fork the rough cut in shell to test tenderness.
Rinse nuts and make a small cut in one side, using a very sharp
knife (and being very careful not to cut yourself.) Some people
make an X. The intent is to allow steam to escape gently instead
of by explosion, which can be very messy , and sometimes painful!
Hot nuts peel easier than cold ones, so when you remove them
from the heat, immediately dump them into a towel and keep them
covered as you remove one at a time to peel.
Or serve them in a newspaper cone and make everybody peel their
own. To roast nuts: This can be done on a pan in the oven or over
an open fire. Even cooking is assured if the nuts are first boiled
about 20 minutes.
The boiled drained nuts can go directly into a roasting pan, or you
can store them in the refrigerator for later use up to 5 days, or
freeze for up to 6 months. To roast the parboiled nuts spread
them out evenly on a pan and bake about 20 minutes at 375
Or roast them chestnut-vendor style over an open fire. Test as
you go for desired softness. To microwave nuts: Make very sure
that every nut has been scored, as above. Arrange them on a
microwave-safe dish and cook for about 2 minutes on high (100
I am amazed at how awful chestnuts are. It never occurred to me that I wouldn't like them. I made a goose with Chestnut stuffing. No one liked them, what a waste of money. It wasn't just my cooking either. I have sampled them from time to time and still find them mealy and unpleasant--to the point I have to spit them out. There are vendors here in Chinatown that sell them roasted and they are bad too. Just saying, don't assume everyone will like them.
When we forget to do that, bring eggs at room temperature, we often use a unconventional method of warming eggs- seven seconds per large egg in the microwave- just enough to take the cold away. Anne (one of the author) once paid dearly for taking this potentially dangerous shortcut, however when she inadvertently pressed one minute and second seconds instead. Realising the mistake, she flung open the microwave's door just as the egg exploded. Imagine the mess. Even the kitchen ceiling had to be repainted.
I've eaten roasted chestnuts several times, and still can't decide if I like them. I like chestnut puree in desserts, but the jury is still out for me on the texture of roasted chestnuts. A propos the goose, Nutcakes, I pricked the goose's skin carefully, roasted it at 375 for about 3 hours. I drained off the fat about every 20 minutes and turned it a few times. I used the hint several people mentioned in an article about roasting geese, which was to sprinkle hot water over it during the last 15 minutes to crisp the skin. This didn't work very well, and I wouldn't repeat it- nor baste it at all. It was perfectly moist and tender, with good flavor, so I guess it was a success.
[This message has been edited by Mezzaluna (edited 01-03-2001).]
I have some roasted chestnuts in the kitchen right now. If I peel them, and maybe cook them a little bit more (wet), I can make a nice puree, which can be used as a filling for chocolates or cake, or in a savory sauce or soup.
The way I like them best is the simple roasted chesnut with salt.