The ritual of roasting chestnuts for my annual Thanksgiving Day stuffing is a labor of love. And as with any labor, there is pain. But the payoff in flavor and texture make it all worthwhile. So for those who might want to try this, I’ve created a pictorial “recipe” for roasting chestnuts – no roaring fire required.
1. Purchase chestnuts. I always get two bags since one of the first years Spence and I did this we lost half of one bag that were bad nuts – moldy, dried up, unusable. Once roasted and chopped, any surplus can be frozen for months in a ziploc bag.
2. Score each nut using a small, very sharp knife in the pattern of a large X.
3. Set your oven at 450 degrees. Lay the chestnuts in a single layer on a pan. Set your timer for 15-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and wrap them in a towel lined pan or bowl (I use two dishtowels) and cover for one hour to steam them.
4. Get two bowls, one for shells and one for the peeled nuts. And start peeling – yes with your fingers (and that small knife – in case you need help). Make sure and check the nuts over to remove any hard membranes. Your thumbs will be sore at the end of this, no sense in sugar coating it. But these little beauties are so worth it! When you’re ready to build your stuffing, just give these a coarse chop!
Want to know how to make my famous Chestnut Stuffing?