Every time I am roasting chestnuts or think about them, the famous song plays in my head “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .” Listening to this song, you’d think that roasting chestnuts was a favorite American pastime– well, maybe it used to be, but I don’t think many people enjoy this tradition anymore.
The first time I ate chestnuts was last winter, when my in-laws were here visiting from Turkey. Although I was familiar with the word “chestnuts,” I actually has no idea what they were, and had never even laid eyes on them. I don’t even think most grocery stores sell them.
With much anticipation, I was able to enjoy my first experience with chestnuts with my husband and his parents. For them, roasting chestnuts is a loved tradition in the winter, and they were excited to find them at a local Asian grocery store, H Mart. They were, however, not prepared to roast them at our home, since in Turkey they have a special roasting pan they use on the stovetop. So, for the first try they roasted them on the stove. It was fine for me, I didn’t know the difference, but they didn’t like how it turned out. So next time, we roasted them in the stove; and they turned out great!
So this year, my in-laws are not with us, but my husband and I both love chestnuts so we decided to try roasting them ourselves. I looked up some tips and recipes on line to see the best way to do it. After several attempts, this is what I figured out works best.
Chestnuts are pretty simple to make once you know what they’re doing. They’re a great, healthy snack and great way for a family to spend time together.
What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 pound chestnuts
- 1 metal shallow baking pan (I use the bottom half of my broiler pan)
- 1 sharp paring knife
What To Do:
First you’ll need to prep the chestnuts for the oven. This means piercing their skin, cutting a deep X into the FLAT side of each chestnut. Make sure you cut all the way through the skin. This is important because you don’t want them to explode in the oven, and believe me, they will! While experimenting with roasting them, we had one explode. It was not a pretty mess to clean up afterwards. This will also make it easier to peel them later.
Next put them in a preheated oven at 425 degrees. Cook for 30-40 minutes, depend on how large the chestnuts are.
Once you take the chestnuts out of the oven, let them cool slightly– just even so you can safely and comfortably handle them. Chestnuts are best eaten warm, and they’ll also peel easier that way. Now just peel away the shell, and enjoy!
Tips: Don’t store you’re chestnuts for too long before cooking them. They can and will go bad and mold. When cutting the chestnuts, use the point of a sharp knife to first pierce the skin, then cut down from that point; don’t try to ‘saw’ through, it doesn’t work very well– I tried it!