How to Roast Chestnuts

Peeling chestnuts can be a bit of work, but the results always make it worthwhile. This method uses an adjustable utility knife, with the blade out half way, or less. I find it easier to control and safer this way.

Use the utility knife to make a cut around the rim of the nut. Imagine a clam – now see a chestnut – the cut is the same as the opening of a clam, except it is on the outer most part of the nut, not in the “middle” as on a clam. Put your knife hand thumb on the back of the nut and draw the blade around, cutting through the outer and the inner skin, keeping the nut between your thumb and the blade at all times.

When the nuts have all been sliced, toss them into a bowl of cold water for a few minutes. After they have soaked, put them on a heavy sheet pan in a pre-heated 400°F oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. The shell should feel crisped and be curling back from the cut a little. Remove them from the oven and cover with a towel to keep in the steam. Begin peeling as soon as you can without burning yourself. If they do not peel easily, go on to the next one. When all the easy ones are peeled, put the recalcitrant ones back in the oven for another five minutes and repeat the process.

Freeze in bags until needed. Use in stuffings, braises, or roast and eat as is.

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