I can be a bit of a grinch until December but now it’s all celebration for the rest of the month. My perfect day for getting into the spirit of the season: get up early, head into the mountains, hike with Scout, and cut down our own tree from the national forest. Head home to put up the tree, make hot cocoa & a crackling fire, and peel chestnuts while we decorate. And yes, I’m finally ready: bring on the Christmas carols!
My mom used to roast chestnuts after dinner throughout December and we’d all sit on the floor shelling them. Sometimes the shells peeled right off, sometimes it took forever to pick little bits out of all the nooks and crannies. Me, I’d usually try for a few minutes, then just pop it in my mouth anyway with some extra crunch.
Now I’ve learned that blanching the chestnuts in boiling water just before roasting helps the skins peel off much more cleanly. No more tiny chestnut slivers for me!
I was so happy to find that my local King Soopers (aka Kroger outside of Colorado) has already begun carrying fresh chestnuts for the season! Whole Foods also usually has them by this time of year. Ordering online seems to be pretty hit or miss, so I suggest checking your local stores first.
Next step: the tree! Have you already got yours up, or do you wait another week to pick one out? I’m hoping to get ours this weekend!
Spiced Butter Roasted Chestnuts
- 1 lb. fresh chestnuts
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 t. vanilla
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. nutmeg
- 1/4 t. cardamom
- 1/4 t. salt
- Preheat oven to 425° with a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
- While water is heating, score the chestnuts. Carefully cut an X on the flat side with a paring knife, cutting just through the shell but not into the meat inside.
- Blanch the scored chestnuts in boiling water for 60 seconds, then drain. Arrange chestnuts cut-side-up on the preheated baking sheet.
- Roast at 425° for 25-30 minutes, until shells begin to curl back.
- While chestnuts are roasting, brown butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla, spices, and salt.
- When chestnuts are done, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let cool until you can handle them. Peel the shells & skins of the chestnuts while they're still warm for easier removal.
- Toss the shelled chestnuts in the spiced butter and serve warm.