Lets talk chestnuts. These rich, sweet and creaming nut is a staple for fall and winter eats. It takes some effort to prepare them, but they are worth it.
One my favorite items from my macrobiotic days was sweet rice with chestnuts. It tastes like dessert.
So you probably seen the mess bag of mahogany color chestnuts in the grocer and wonder how to prepare them.
Well here is how.
The common wisdom is to cut an X into them. They even have chestnut X-er gadgets to do it. The thing is chestnuts are kind of slipper and smooth. So what I usually do is take a scissors and make one slit. No X required.
Next roast them in a pan in a 425 degree oven for about 12-15 minutes.
The picture above shows the chestnut shells busted open. The trick to peeling a chestnut is to peel it hot. I use the sleeves of my longs sleeves to work them and I rest the chestnut on a oven mitt.
Pressing the shells breaks the shells apart, which come off easy.
The real trick is peeling off the papery skins inside the shell. The hotter the chestnuts the easier they come off. I tooth pick helps. Squeezing the chestnuts usually works to loosen the skins.
If you are working a large batch, you will have to re-heat them as you go. I figure I can only peel about 5-7 at a clip before heating them up again.
Roasted chestnuts are great in stuffings and can be boiled and pureed to make a chestnut cream for desserts and baked goods.