How to cook the perfect chestnut?
If there is something that reminds me of my childhood its chestnuts. We grew up with them, either climbing our local tree, collecting fallen chestnuts in early autumn or cooking them on the stove. We would snack on chestnuts like sweets.
You can imagine my joy when Max and I were out on a pre-tea time walk to the swings when we discovered the path was littered with spiky shells and big brown chestnuts! They were everywhere, I was now thankful that Max insisted on bringing the pushchair. We immediately set to work collecting and filling the pushchair with our yield. Max loved watching me split open the shells with my shoes and carefully picking out the biggest chestnut of the crop. But the novelty did wear off and I was soon reminded about the swings…
When I was a child I had no idea just how healthy chestnuts were. With only 200 calories and under 2g of fat per 100 grams they make an ideal snack. They are also a rich source of Vitamin C and Iron. I’m now pleased we have a huge bowl of these little beauties.
You can roast or boil chestnuts but my preference is to roast them. Not only do they smell great but they also have more flavour. Now the wood-burning stove is on during the chilly nights I often grab a handful, slice across the top and bottom of the brown shell and place them on top of the wood burner. Turn them every 10 minutes, until the outer brown shell is turning black and opening up. Depending on how hot your stove is this will take between 30-40 minutes.
Alternatively, preheat your oven to 200 degrees, slice across the top and bottom of the chestnuts and place them on a baking tray. Roast for approx 25-35 minutes giving the tray a shake every 10 minutes. You will know they are ready when the brown shell is turning black and coming away from the nut.
Allow to cool for a few minutes then shell your chestnuts and sprinkle with a little salt, I guarantee you will be left wanting more…