Huge dork that I am, I love listening to Christmas music at this time of year. And even more than that, I love preparing and enjoying all those food classics, too.
Want to add a touch of nostalgia to your Christmas celebration this year? How ‘bout some roasted chestnuts perfuming your whole house with holiday goodness and warming your chilly hands?
I find these at my local supermarket. They are usually in the produce section, in big barrels. I buy twice as many as I think I’ll need because there always seem to be a lot of moldy ones for some reason. Must be some kind of chestnut conspiracy…
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
This is the tricky part: cut an “X” into each chestnut with a sharp paring knife. The nutshell is smooth but not hard. It’s almost like a thick, dry membrane, but the geometry of a chestnut makes this a risky business. It is very easy for your knife to slip and then you have one less finger for the chestnuts to warm. So watch it! Put all the scored nuts on a baking sheet.
And put them in the hot oven. You’ll know when they are ready because: a)They smell awesome, b)The little “X’s” you made look all curled up, or c)They have been in there for about 25 minutes. Anyone? Bueller? The answer is d)All of the above.
Somebody can’t wait to get his hands on some nuts! Patience, child…
Ok so when they are done, just put them in a big ol’ heat-safe bowl and serve. Peel and eat! They have a soft, starchy texture and a sweet, almost woody flavor. There’s nothing else quite like it, I’m sure. Besides just eating them hot from the oven, I also like to put them in pasta dishes, or with winter veg (like squash, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, etc. See also my soapbox post.), or in desserts.
But stay away from these guys:
I’ll get to the bottom of this scheme if it kills me…