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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Bolduc

Roasting Chestnuts

Updated: Aug 10

When the cool season kicks in, there is nothing better than roasted chestnuts!

Hot roasted chestnuts ready to peel • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022

Roasting chestnuts when the weather gets cool is a great experience. Preparation is an essential step before eating the chestnuts... To be able to peel them, chestnuts have to be cooked, and it has to be done quickly while they are still hot. That step will definitely keep your hands busy and warm! The peel has two layers: the shell and thin papery skin. They can be boiled or roasted, depending on preference and what you want to do with them. Roasting chestnuts in the oven, on the BBQ or on an open fire is an absolute treat. The flavours are sweeter and the texture is firmer than when boiled. Chestnuts are nothing like any other nuts, they are starchy and not as crunchy. Their shelf life is short so they have to be refrigerated and cooked fresh before they dry out (within about 10 days or a bit longer if well stored). You can enjoy them for a snack or use them for a recipe. Chestnuts are versatile and great in many kinds of desserts and savoury dishes. Luckily, in the High Country region of Australia, there are a few farms around us where we can buy them directly in season from mid-autumn to early winter. Discover more about Australian chestnuts here.


Roasting, peeling and cooking with chestnuts • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022


I find it easier to peel chestnuts if I cook small batches at a time. When you get to the last ones that have started to cool down, you can find removing the papery skin more difficult. Don't worry if there are some that can't be peeled, you can always boil the nuts for a few minutes and try again while they are warm. Roasting chestnuts in the oven is pretty easy. This is a perfect way to prepare a batch for use in recipes like soup, stuffing, dip, spread, sides and desserts. You can also freeze some of your extra-cooked chestnuts to use later on. Roasting chestnuts outside on the BBQ or on an open fire is the most festive and delicious way to enjoy them. In this part of the world, bonfire parties happen mostly in the winter (as in summer bushfires are high risk). Marshmallows, sausages and chestnuts are cooked on the braziers that keep us warm at the same time. Peeling the nuts with friends is always more fun (and quicker!). And even better, the smoky taste of the fire-roasted chestnuts straight out of the peel is just perfect with a glass of local Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Life isn't too bad sometimes in the cool mountains!


Open fire-roasted chestnuts • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022


RECIPE


INGREDIENTS:

500 g fresh chestnuts (per batch)

Water


You will need:

A good knife

A clean tea towel

A large bowl

Roasting dish, cast iron pan, or baking tray.

Tongs (for grilling)


PREPARATION: Indoor oven

Wash chestnuts in cold water, drain and cut a shallow cross on the peel of each nut’s flatter side.

Place in a bowl filled with cold water, and let sit for 5 minutes (you can keep the bowl to place the tea towel and hot chestnuts in).

Preheat the oven to 200C/380F*.

Place chestnuts in the roasting dish, cross-cut facing up, and bake for 15-20 minutes until the shells split well open.

Remove the chestnuts and wrap them in a tea towel for 5 minutes.

Peel the shell and papery skin while still warm.


*Conventional oven, can be lower than a fan-forced oven.


Outdoor grill (BBQ or open fire)

Prepare your fire at least an hour before cooking or warm the BBQ while preparing the chestnuts.

Wash chestnuts in cold water, drain and cut a shallow cross on the peel of each nut’s flatter side.

Place in a bowl filled with cold water, and let sit for 5 minutes (you can keep the bowl to place the tea towel and hot chestnuts in).

Place chestnuts in the pan or directly on the hot grill.

Turn every few minutes for 15-20 minutes until the shells split well open.

Remove the chestnuts and wrap them in a tea towel for 5 minutes.

Peel the shell and papery skin while still warm.


Hot roasted chestnuts ready to peel • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022

#mountainchestnuts

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