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Easy Oven-Roasted Chestnuts!
The roasting fragrance of chestnuts is a sure sign that fall is here, and winter is coming. Roasted chestnut stalls are familiar sights in cities across Europe. You will find chestnut street vendors at popular tourist spots like in front of the cathedral in Strasbourg and wine festivals and Christmas markets in Germany. The wood-burning roaster stalls always bring warmth on a winter day, and the sweet fragrance of roasted chestnuts fills the street, adding to the festive atmosphere of the fall. Just imagine Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” of “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” playing in the background while you watch the fire crackle snugged in your hand-knitted sweater. Winter has its perks, no?
Earlier this month, during a short city break to Paris, the streets were already lined with fallen chestnuts (not sure if they were edible ones). I remember thinking I couldn’t wait for the Christmas market so I could enjoy some with my Glühwein (Mulled Wine), so it was a delightful surprise when they were the first things I sighted when entering my local grocery store yesterday. Chestnuts already available at the end of September? Last year we decided it was cheaper to roast our own chestnuts at home because a small sachet of them from the street vendors will set you back 7 euros, and they are sometimes undercooked and inedible.
Roasted chestnuts are popular all over Europe and a staple in Italy this time of year. Formerly a form of currency and trade in Ancient Roman times, and a staple for the poor man’s diet, chestnuts are now a delicacy. Chestnuts are available from September through February, making them a great fall and wintertime snack. They also make a great addition to dishes as well like turkey stuffings or added to roasted vegetables.
Chestnuts contain less fat than other nuts, are richer in vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of antioxidants. Chestnuts are earthy and sweet with a soft, buttery texture. The consistency is more like potatoes than a nut; they are filling since they are starchy and high in carbohydrates, serving as a source of energy.
This simple recipe is easy to make and takes just 20 minutes, making it a perfect fall or winter snack. The homemade snack will set you back about €3, but it is still cheaper than the street vendors charge. I always wondered why chestnuts cost so much at the vendor stalls, and now I know: Chestnuts are €9,90 a Kilo in Germany.
Chestnuts are enjoyed best hot straight from the oven. They go down well with a warm glass of mulled wine or a reuglar glass of wine like they do in Italy. Chestnuts are enjoyed best hot straight from the oven. Enjoy them with a warm glass of mulled wine or a simple glass of wine like they do in Italy.
- 1 Sharp Knife
- 200 g Chestnuts unpeeled
- Preheat the Oven to 220 °C
- Using a sharp knife, make an X-shaped cut on the round side of each chestnut.
- Arrange the chestnuts on a baking sheet.
- Roast the chestnuts in the oven for least 15 to 25 minutes or until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the chestnut is soft.
- Remove the nuts from the oven. Wrap them up into a kitchen towel, squeeze them—making sure not to break them. Let them sit for a few minutes.
- Peel the chestnut by removing the dark shells and the papery skin between the shell and the chestnut.
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