How to cook and prepare chestnuts
Chestnuts are intoxicating in both aroma and taste - their sweet, earthy flavour, accompanied by a texture that is both gratifyingly crumbly and velvety smooth, is nothing short of unique. Unlike other nuts, they are only eaten cooked and have a distinct nutritional profile: low in fat, high in fibre and rich in Vitamin C!
Freshly cooked chestnuts are delicious on their own, and they also make great accompaniments to both savoury and sweet dishes. This simple how-to guide shows you that an open-fire is not the only way to cook these delicious, nutty gems.
How to prepare chestnuts for cooking
Before cooking, rinse the chestnuts in cold water and dry them off. It is imperative to always slit the outer shell of a chestnut before cooking, to stop it from bursting. Lie each chestnut on its flat side, then use a small sharp knife to cut a shallow cross in the chestnut shell. The cut should go through the full thickness of the shell, but not so deep that it penetrates the flesh.
How to cook chestnuts
Roasting chestnuts in the oven is generally the most common method of cooking, as it is simple and offers a roasted richness similar to that of an open fire. Preheat the oven to approximately 200°C. Place the chestnuts in a large baking tray in a single layer and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the slits have started to open.
Cooking chestnuts in a pan will also give them a smoky flavour. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat, and then add the chestnuts in a single layer. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until tender, giving the pan a good shake every few minutes.
While boiling won’t give chestnuts that roasted smokiness, it’s a great way to keep the flesh tender and creamy. It’s also a good method if the variety of chestnuts you’re using is difficult to peel. Place the prepared chestnuts in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
Place 6 to 8 prepared chestnuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Cook on high for one-minute intervals, until tender.
How to peel chestnuts
Once finished cooking, wrap the chestnuts in a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes (this will make the peeling process easier). Once they are cool enough to handle, peel away the shells and skin. If boiled, there’s no need to wrap the chestnuts in a tea towel; simply remove the chestnuts one at a time from the water to peel.
Handy Hint: Chestnuts are much easier to peel when they are warm- so don’t leave them waiting for too long!
While, chestnuts are deliciously satisfying on their own, they also marry perfectly with many other ingredients and work an absolute treat in a variety of dishes.
*DISCLAIMER: Australian Chestnuts are a contributing recipe Partner at myfoodbook.com.au. This article features content sourced from Australian Chestnuts and our own opinions. For more information visit the Australian Chestnuts website.