Ahh, the roasted chestnut! The quintessential winter treat! Delicious roasted and drizzled with olive oil and salt, maybe some fresh thyme too! Also a great base for a number of other recipes, both sweet and savoury. So simple, and so rewarding, pick some fresh chestnuts up next time you see them at your local market!
This is the first post of a series of “Base Camp” recipes I am going to write. They’ll be short posts that cover basic recipes and techniques I use in my kitchen. Many of my recipes are based on a certain preparation of ingredients that I then build complete dishes from. The idea is that this will be an easy way I can refer to these techniques in future recipes in order to make them shorter, more concise to read and easier to follow… I hope! As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated!
When choosing your chestnuts, make sure they are firm, solid and don’t give when squeezed. Take care when cutting the chestnuts. It’s easier if you use a serrated knife and work slowly. Peel chestnuts when they are still warm, as they become near impossible once cold.
Desired amount of fresh chestnuts
Olive oil, fresh herbs (such as thyme) and salt, to serve (optional).
Set your oven to 180C. Boil your kettle.
Lay the chestnuts flat side down on a chopping board and, using sharp serrated knife, carefully cut an X shape incision in each of the chestnuts. Place the chestnuts in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Discard any that float to the top. Leave to sit for 10 minutes.
Drain chestnuts and place on a baking tray, cut side up. Roast in your oven for 25-30 minutes till their shells are peeling back.
Remove the chestnuts from the oven and cover snuggly with a tea towel for 5 minutes – this will steam them a little and make them easier to peel. You can now either peel them to use in a recipe, or drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and fresh herbs and serve as is for people to peel themselves.