There’s nothing quite like the taste and aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts on a fall or winter day. The starchy brown tree nuts are available from late fall through the winter. Chestnuts are not to be confused with water chestnuts (popular in Asian cuisine), an aquatic vegetable grown in marshes. If you’re intimidated by the thought of roasting them yourself, don’t be, it’s super easy!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cut an “X” into the flat side of each chestnut, making sure to cut through the shell. This allows air to escape and keeps the chestnuts from exploding. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet, cut side up. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the shells peel back. Peel the chestnuts (including the inner skins) while still hot, as they become difficult to peel once cooled.
Chestnuts make a wonderful addition to stuffings and soups. Their sweet flavor also lends itself well to desserts such as puddings, cakes and ice cream.