Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….the opening to one of the most wonderful winter songs ever. So many times in recent years I was actually unable to find fresh chestnuts! This year I found some at the store and snagged a bag. While my wonderful MIL Sherry and forever BFF Kelley were here for a visit we were able to fulfill the cliché.
The coals were still glowing red after Big D seared steaks and we had a red meat feast. We had a blast roasting them, and after they cooled just enough we were able to peel them. We could tell they were done when the shell where they were cut started curling up and away from the nut. It was great evening and the chestnuts made for quite a treat. Sherry and Kelley had never roasted chestnuts. We flitted around the kitchen enjoying the process and savoring the flavors of the nuts. Preparation of the nuts is similar to garlic – the outer shell is removed, then the thin membrane right on the nut itself needs to be removed. As my lovely daughter concluded, they look more like brains, which are food for the zombies. Does it help that they are nested in a nice bed of young greens? Maybe not. I don’t want to know how badly we have distorted her mind, but Shaun of the Dead is a most awesome movie. Roast up some chestnuts this winter, or find a street vendor who did the work for you. It is a flavor that will linger and you will never forget.
Roasting pan or grilling grid for fish
Open fire or grill with glowing embers
12 – 24 raw chestnuts
With a sharp knife make a criss-cross cut into one side of the nut shell. Roast over an open fire until the cut sections curl away from the nuts and start hissing. The nuts are a bit like popcorn – as you roast them they can go from roasted to burned in about two seconds, so watch carefully, otherwise they might burn. Remove from fire. Let cool just until they can be handled. Peel off outer shell and remove the brown membrane, until the tan colored nut is exposed. The roasted nut should be about the color of a peanut and the texture of a walnut. Eat immediately or freeze/refrigerate for use with chocolate fondue, in recipes and on salads.