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Roasted Chestnuts

Posted by Denise on December 20, 2012

roasted chestnuts in pan
Chestnuts roasted and ready to peel and eat.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…we all know these lyrics to a beloved Christmas song. Unlike many of you, I have always wondered what roasted chestnuts tasted like. I don’t think I’ve ever tried them. And I know I’ve never tried roasting them so when we say chestnuts in the grocery store the other day, we just had to try to make them.

Chestnuts are beautiful with a shiny streaked brown shell, typically flat on at least on side. They come from the tall, stately chestnut trees which grow in the middle and northern part of the United States.

The meat of the roasted chestnut is sweet and rich, with a buttery texture and an almost floral scent. They were so different than what I was expecting, but totally delicious.

After much research, we decided to boil the nuts first, then roast them in a cast iron pan over a fire to finish them off. According to several sources, this makes them easier to shell. Well, they were still difficult to shell without breaking the meat into little chunks bit it was worth the effort.

The instructions call for cutting an “x” into the shell before cooking to let steam escape so that the chestnuts don’t pop out of the pan. Please do this carefully so you don’t cut yourself. Place the flat side of the nut down so it’s more stable before cutting the x into the shell. A sharp knife does the job, but there are special tools for cutting them if you are going to do a whooooole lot of them.


  Printer friendly recipe without photos 


Roasted Chestnuts


 roasted chestnuts ingredients

 Roasted chestnuts ingredients



Serves 4



20 or so

Raw chestnuts in shell






1.     Cut an “x” into the shell of each chestnut, taking care to cut the shell but not the meat of the nut as much as possible.


cutting an x in chestnuts



2.     Place the chestnuts in a medium sized pot of hot water making sure the water covers the nuts and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes then remove from the water and drain the nuts.



boiling chestnuts



3.     Heat a cast iron skillet over a fire or on a barbeque grill. Alternately, turn the oven to broil and allow to heat. Place the boiled and drained chestnuts into the heated skillet and cook over the flames for 3 to 5 minutes, just to put a little sear on the outside. Take them off the heat (or if broiling, remove from the oven) and allow to cool.



roasted chestnuts in cast iron pan over flames



4.     Carefully remove the shell of the chestnut from the meat by peeling the shell away starting at the rolled-back edges of the x cut earlier. Either use the shelled nuts in recipes or eat right away. Store in an airtight container for a couple of days at room temperature or for a couple of months in the freezer.



 roasted chestnut on paper towel

roasted chestnuts in bowl

  roasted chestnuts in black bowl


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