Roasting chestnuts has been a holiday favorite for generations. And, though we’ve come a long way since the days of an open fire, there’s still plenty of ways you can add them to your Christmas feast. So let’s get crackin
All of the delicious recipes to follow begin with the proper roasting technique. Here’s the quick and easy way to get those chestnuts warmed and ready:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Using a paring knife, cut a 1 to 2-inch X across the curved side of the chestnut. This reduces pressure when roasting and makes the shell/skin easier to remove.
3. Place chestnuts X-side up in a large baking dish. Be sure to leave some space between each chestnut. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes.
4. Remove roasted chestnuts from oven and set aside to cool. Remove the skins once cooled enough to handle.
THE SAVORY WAY:
This flavor-packed recipe starts with your standard roasted chestnuts, then bumps things up a notch with a little bit of smoky goodness.
Using a stovetop or electric smoker, add the chestnut skins and shells to the smoker. Once smoking, add in roasted chestnuts and smoke until they’ve become deep brown/slightly black. Remove from the smoke and roughly chop.
Fill a large pot with water, salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, drop in Brussels sprouts and par cook for about 4-5 minutes until slightly tender. Drain into a large sieve and then plunge into a water-ice bath to stop the cooking.
Meanwhile, place a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, drop in bacon lardons and render until crispy. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the onions to the pan with the bacon fat and reduce to medium-low heat. Cook the onions, for about 8-10 minutes allowing them to caramelize, then add the chestnuts and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Increase the heat to high, add the reserved bacon and Brussels sprouts, and stir well. Add the broth and cover; the contents will quickly come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the Brussels sprouts are heated through then stir in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
THE SWEET LIFE:
One of our current addictions at Food Republic is chocolate hazelnut spread. It’s great on toast, it’s great on sliced bananas… it’s even great for baking! Because we just can’t get enough of the stuff, we thought why not swap out the hazel for the chestnuts… boy, were we pleasantly surprised!
Place the cocoa, sugar, vanilla and salt into a medium saucepan. Add ¾ cup hot water, slowly while stirring, to make a paste. Using a mortar and pestle, and working in batches, create a paste with the chestnuts, adding a small amount of whole milk if necessary.
Reduce heat to low and fold in the chestnut puree using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to cook for about 10-12 minutes. If the consistency is too thick, add a small amount of whole milk to loosen up the mixture. Remove from the heat and add in vanilla bean paste and stir to combine. Pour warm mixture into a jar and cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge.