Chestnuts are one of my favorite things in Winter months. I have fond memories from home, walking around downtown Zagreb and buying roasted chestnuts from the street vendors. They come in a little paper pouch and they are the tastiest little thing ever! They also warm you up and your fingers while you are peeling them.
Chestnuts are very common and popular in Croatia and we have a huge variety of uses for them, but most common is roasting them or boiling and then pureeing them for desserts. Since I was lucky to find them here in Salt Lake City, I bought a lot and roasted some and rest I boiled and pureed. So next post I am going to have another beautiful chestnut dessert to share!
Now back to roasting. For me, the hardest part with preparing chestnuts is cutting into them, maybe my knifes suck, but they are hard little buggers. Make sure to have a good little sharp knife!
You can cut into them on their belly side one long line, like I did. Or you can cut them criss-cross (x). I feel like cutting into them in one line works for me so that is what I do, you can try both and see what works better for you. Try not to cut into the chestnut itself, but just the outer shell and inner "skin". If you are boiling them, this really doesn't matter at all, but for roasting the chestnuts, this can dry them out a bit so be careful. I had some I cut into a bit and it wasn't that big of a deal, but the ones I didn't cut into were nicer.
Put them all onto a cookie sheet scored side up and roast for 20 minutes on 425.
Do not skip the next step! Wrap them into a kitchen towel so they continue to steam in there, it makes it easier to peel, a few chestnuts at a time. Letting them cool of will make it real hard to peel...
Once they are peeled I usually just eat them like that because it's a special treat for me. But you can use them for salads or holiday stuffing's or chop them up for breads. They are delicious in anything!
Now come back soon for that promised chestnut parfait! :-)