Despite it being one of the most famous lines from a Christmas song very few people actually roast chestnuts, let alone on an open fire. Chestnuts have a mellow, nutty flavour and the texture is fantastic. They are amazing chopped into winter salads or warmed and served with veg or pureed if you’re feeling fancy. Chestnuts are a festive kick of fibre and protein and the kids can get involved with the prep so it’s worth having a go.
bag of chestnuts
*a small, very sharp knife is essential
There’s some debate over whether soaking helps keep the chestnut moist or not. I do it because the kids love helping and I think it’s important that they feel involved in food prep wherever possible.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220°c (200°c Fan). Very carefully score a slit or cross into each chestnut, trying not to cut the nut itself, then pop the cut chestnut into a bowl of cold water.
- Once all your chestnuts are cut let them bob around for 15-30 minutes. Evelynne says that stirring them and periodically taking them out to count and/or name before plunging them back into the water is essential.
- Take the chestnuts out of the water and dry before arranging them on a baking sheet. Keep your damp tea towel, you’ll need it later.
- Pop the tray on a high shelf and cook for 15-20 minutes until the skin starts to peel back from the nut.
- Take the tray out of the oven and immediately cover with a damp tea towel for 5 minutes. You’ll hear the chestnuts start to crack and open as the steam forces its way out. This step makes them easier to peel without overcooking the nut.
- Peel the skin away from the nut and you’re done! Enjoy as a snack with a cold beer or use in one of my festive recipes coming up soon.
- Store the nuts in an airtight container. They keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.