Versatile and Nutritious Chestnut Recipes

7 Chestnut Recipes

Chestnuts are a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory soups and stuffings and sweet dishes. They taste a bit like a potato and are very rich in vitamin C.

To prepare the chestnuts, score a cross in the flat side with a sharp knife, then soak in cold tap water for an hour. This will help them steam in the oven and peel easily.

Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts are a winter favorite that can be enjoyed as a snack or added to soups, salads, and desserts. They have a nutty flavor that pairs well with many seasonal dishes, and they are especially good paired with apples and pears. To prepare roasted chestnuts, start by looking for ones that are heavy for their size and that have a tight, crisp shell. Avoid those with holes in the skin that may indicate dryness or bugs.

Grasp each chestnut firmly and using a knife cut a long slit or “x” on the flat side of the chestnut (this is to help ensure they do not explode in the oven when they are cooked). Place the scored nuts on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. When done, the slit should open and the skin should easily peel away. The nuts will be tender inside and have a crisp, golden outside. Enjoy as a delicious snack or add to your favorite recipes!

Boiled Chestnuts

The chestnuts in this recipe are boiled before roasting. This is a good method for recipes that will use the chestnuts whole, such as a puree. This way the inner fuzzy skin is removed in a separate step and you can enjoy the nuts while they are still hot.

Before boiling, wash the chestnuts and remove the papery outer shells. If you are having trouble, try using a sharp serrated knife or a chestnut knife which is specially designed for the task. Then score each chestnut with an “x” on its flat side (it’s easier to peel them this way) and then boil in water.

When the chestnuts come to a boil, lower the heat to obtain a gentle simmer. Cook for approximately 30 minutes. Drain and let cool before starting to peel them. If you want to, add a few bay leaves or orange peel to the boiling water. This will flavor the chestnuts.

Pumpkin-Chestnut Soup

Pumpkin and chestnuts make a deliciously rich, winter warming soup. The soup is also dairy free and vegan if you leave out the cream based topping.

To prepare the chestnuts, score a cross in each and cook them in a saucepan of boiling water for 5-7 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow to cool a little. Once the shell has softened, peel them using a sharp knife.

In a heavy based pan, melt the butter over medium heat, until it turns brown. This gives the soup a wonderful earthy, nutty flavor.

Add the leeks and carrots, and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the sage and pumpkin and stir well. Pour in the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Once the soup has boiled, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes (photo 2). Turn off the heat and puree the soup with a hand blender. Return to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped roasted chestnuts and thyme leaves for garnish.

Chestnut Cookies

Once upon a time, it was hard to walk from one street corner to another in Manhattan without running into the smoky billows of chestnuts roasting over an open fire. Nowadays, you can pick up roasted or boiled chestnuts pre-packaged in the grocery store for convenience — just be sure to peel them before using them as they will have a tough shell that’s difficult to break open. When used in sweet recipes, a cooked chestnut adds a richness that’s both mild and nutty.

In these cookies, a cup of chestnut flour replaces some of the all-purpose flour to give the cookie a little extra texture and flavor. You can find chestnut flour in specialty markets, some health food stores or online.

After forming the dough into teaspoon-size balls, each cookie is indented with a thumb and coated in cinnamon sugar to be dipped. Bake until the cookies are light golden and dry-looking. If desired, you can drizzle the cookies with melted dark chocolate after they’re baked.

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