I know this will be the completely wrong time of year for many of you, but it’s chestnut season here in Australia and I’m keen to make the most of it. Although I love the flavour of them roasted over open flames, I find it very hard to get the timing right so I generally prefer to use an oven. My favourite way to eat them is with melted butter, salt and pepper – yum. I have a few other serving ideas below too :)
You will need:
– About 6 chestnuts per person
Select chestnuts that are fresh, firm (ie that they don’t have a pocket of air between the shell and the nut), fairly heavy and with a glossy, undamaged shell.
– Something yummy to serve them with (optional)
I like melted butter with salt and pepper but some other ideas include vanilla, chocolate, red wine, orange, honey, maple cinnamon sugar (also in my photos).
1. Rinse and lightly dry the nuts in a tea towel.
2. Using a sharp, serrated bread knife, cut a large cross into the flat side of the nuts, making sure to piece all the way through the shell.
3. Place in roasting pan with the cross sides facing up and bake in a 180oC (350oF) oven for abour 20-25mins.
4. Remove them from oven and wrap them in a tea towel for 5 mins (optional, but this can help them to peel more easily).
5. Serve straight away, chestnuts both peel and taste the best while still hot. You will need to remove both the outer shell and inner casing before you eat them. If the chestnuts are too hot to peel initially you can use the tea towel to break the shells apart (what I usually do). If they cool down too much to peel just throw them back in the oven for a few minutes.
Chestnuts should be a creamy yellow to white colour once peeled, sweet, yummy and have a soft, fluffy, potato-like texture. If they are rubbery and still have a bit of bite to them, just cook them for another 5 mins or so. Watch out for any blackened or greyish ones as these have gone bad (they are usually are quite shrivelled and dense too, sometimes you will be able to see mould on them).