Sunday, November 23, 2008

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Or closed in a Closed Oven.

I've never had a roasted chestnut before. Not intentionally, anyway. But I was watching a Food Network Thanksgiving special the other day, in which Tyler Florence roasted chestnuts to put in stuffing. Actually, he called it 'dressing' for reasons that are beyond me, maybe because he baked it separately and didn't stuff the turkey with it?

Anyways, I don't know why he called it dressing but I do know I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming urge to roast and eat chestnuts. I mentioned this offhand to Joe and today he surprised me with some raw chestnuts from Whole Foods. Success!

Since I wasn't really paying attention to how Tyler roasted the chestnuts (he is quite the dreamboat, it's a distraction) I googled how to prepare and roast chestnuts and went on my merry way. Here's what I did:

Turned oven to 425. My oven is ancient and most of the dial is worn off and there is no indicator to when it's preheated, you kind of just wait around for awhile and then decide it's probably at 425 by now. Then I dumped the chestnuts on a cutting board.

Next you score an 'x' on top of each chestnut with a knife. I read if you don't do this the chestnuts will explode, which is an exciting prospect but my ancient oven doesn't have self-cleaning capacity either.

Here they are all scored. You can see a couple of them I accidentally sliced nearly all the way through them. Don't do as I do, since I clearly don't know what I'm doing most the time.

Then you pop these guys onto a cookie sheet and into your (presumably) preheated oven for about 20-30 minutes, until the casing starts peeling back.

Here they are all popped open. They resemble small, pointy torture devices.

While they're still warm, peel off the rest of the skin.

They look kind of like brains when they're all naked, not very festive. Maybe for Halloween.

They are delicious piping hot though. Totally different than any other nut I've had before, they actually reminded me of butternut squash more than anything else. Which was good, just not what I was expecting. I suspect you can salt them too but I liked them just plain.

Off to go study... maybe.


meeuh said...

Do chestnuts have the same texture as water chestnuts? I hate that texture. Every time I accidentally bite into a water chestnut, my body shakes with silent screams...

Roasted chestnuts sound festive, though, and I'd like to try it (minus the involuntary shuddering).

Jena said...

I had roasted chestnuts for the first time a year ago (almost to the day, actually), and I thought they were scrumptious. Some people salted them (they were even better that way, as it turned out). Thanks for the directions. Maybe we'll splurge and have some holiday festivity involving roasted chestnuts this year.

Katie said...

Oh hi you're hilarious. "Dreamboat" and "Pointy torture devices" really got me. Do you think Eleanor would eat a roasted chestnut?

Sophie said...

Oh hi Katie, I love you. I think after surviving in the Alaska wilderness and then being on a strict all hay diet Ellie would probably try a chestnut.