Sweet European chestnuts
Update Christmas 2012: After roasting fresh chestnuts there’s a good chance not all of them will be usable. I’ve just roasted 10 and only 7 of those were good. My advice would be to roast more than is needed, just in case. And, if you’re having problems with the brown skin or pellicle it’s probably easiest to blanch them, allow to cool and then peel as mine were far easier to remove after doing so.
The following text is from last time: This is about as Christmas-sy as I get, I’m afraid. A large bag of fresh sweet chestnuts are bought, roasted and added to several recipes; including pan-fried Brussels sprouts. This year I’m going to try and develop a soup. And, I might even try a bread as there’s bound to be an Italian recipe online.
To make sure the chestnuts are ripe enough simply press your thumb on their flat side. There should be a slight give, and almost as if the nut is beginning to separate from their skin. The chestnuts I’ve bought recently are still quite firm so I’m only using those that do have a little give in them. They should ripen fairly quickly, certainly in time for Christmas day. Oh, and if you notice any holes on their surface (like they’ve been drilled into) then I would discard those – as otherwise there’s probably a little *beastie* inside.
The peeled chestnut lowest within the frame above looks, to me, just like a little albino hedgehog! Aww…
Ingredients & Instructions:
- 1 x 400g (14.11 oz) bag of fresh chestnuts (I’m using a French type called Marigoule), kept on their flat side, a large X cut into their round surface (to prevent them form exploding). When cutting the X make sure your little finger is facing outwards! Your little pinkie just might get the tip of your knife if the chestnut slips, as chestnuts aren’t the easiest to cut.
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400°F or Gas 6), place the chestnuts evenly, X cut facing upwards, on a suitable roasting tin and roast for about 15 minutes. As long as their skins are splaying open they should be cooked enough.
- When cool enough to handle peel off the outer skin and discard. Same with the rather fibrous membrane or pellicle attached to the nut, making sure that all of the brown pellicle is removed. If necessary, place them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to near boiling point and drain. When cool enough the brown skin or pellicle should be easier to remove.
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
All photographs within Feed the piglet:
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