Chestnut Cooking TipsTo facilitate removal of the shell, you'll need to use a sharp pointed knife to slice either a horizontal slash or a large X along the flat side before roasting or boiling.
To boil, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat. Scoop out a few at a time and peel off the shell and skin with a sharp knife. As they cool, they become more difficult to peel, so keep them in hot water until you are ready to peel. Proceed with your recipe using the peeled nuts, making sure you finish cooking them completely within your recipe.
To boil and cook them completely in their skins, simmer for 15 to 25 minutes, then peel and use, but don't be disappointed if they fall apart as you peel them. This boiling method to fully cook the chestnuts is best used when you will be mashing the chestnuts or pushing them through a sieve for puree.
To roast chestnuts, make cuts as described above. They can potentially explode from internal pressure if not pierced. Place on a baking sheet in a 400-degree F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.
To roast in a fire, take an aluminum pie plate and punch rows of holes. Make cuts in chestnuts or puncture them to release steam and place on a grill over white hot coals. If you have a chestnut roaster for the fireplace, all the better.
Chestnuts work well in savory dishes as well as sweet ones. They are often used as a substitute for potatoes or pasta in Europe due to their high starch content. Mashed or whole braised chestnuts are good partners with sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. However, most Americans use them in stuffings and desserts.
You'll find many recipes to try in the chestnut recipe collection, including standard stuffing and dessert offerings as well as innovative new uses for chestnuts. Make the most of chestnuts while you can get them fresh, but you can also used canned whole chestnuts or chestnut puree in most recipes when fresh ones are out of season.
More About Chestnuts and Chestnut Recipes• Chestnut Selection and Storage
• Chestnut Cooking Tips
• Raw Chestnuts Warning
• Chestnut Equivalents, Measures, and Substitutions
• Chestnut History
• Chestnut Recipes
Chestnut Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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