Chestnuts are a wonderful Christmas holiday seasonal culinary tradition and delight. For those readers who have never before had the pleasure of eating them, you do not know what you are missing. There is some work involved in preparing chestnuts. In advance of being able to savor their wonderful and tasty nutty flavor, you have to take the chestnuts out of their protecting inner cover as well as their tough exterior shell. This article goes through the step by steps of preparing and baking this wonderful holiday food.
Items and Ingredients Necessary:
Bag of Chestnuts
A Sharp Knife
A Paper bag or fresh, clean towel
Optional Aluminum Foil
Inspecting the Chestnuts
This is a moderately challenging cooking project, but it can be accomplished by many people, if only they follow the directions carefully. First you must thoroughly inspect the chestnuts to be baked in order to be certain that no worms or insects have gotten into them ahead of you. You are also on the lookout for cracks in the shell, which could demonstrate that there is this type of damage present.
Preparing the Chestnuts
Now it is time to clean the chestnuts. They must be completely and well washed in colder water. After this has been accomplished, the chestnuts should be soaked for a good twenty minutes in a bowl or pot of water which is lukewarm.
Cut a surface slash in the shape of an “X” on the flat side of every chestnut. Use a sharp knife for this task. Be careful not to cut all the way down into the nut. Your goal is only to cut the shell itself.
Boiling the Chestnuts
In advance of actually baking the chestnuts, you will first have to boil them. In a big pot of completely boiling water, boil the chestnuts. Reduce the heat to allow them to simmer for a good fifteen to twenty-five minutes. At this point, they should be tender to the touch.
Baking the Chestnuts
Now you are ready to actually bake the chestnuts. Preheat your oven to three hundred and seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. You will want to put them on the baking sheet, carefully laid out, preferably so that they are not touching one another. If you put down aluminum foil on the baking sheet before you lay out the chestnuts, then you will save yourself some clean up hassle later. Place the baking sheet full of chestnuts on to a center rack in the preheated oven. You need to allow them to bake on the tray for around twenty minutes. Do not forget to turn them all over approximately in the middle of the baking time.
Steaming the Chestnuts
Take the baking sheet of chestnuts out of the oven. Scoop off the chestnuts from the sheet and wrap them, but not too tightly, in either the towel or the paper bag. You are to leave them in this state for a good ten minutes. This is necessary to properly steam the chestnuts.
Serving the Chestnuts
While the chestnuts are still nice and warm, you must peel the tough outer shells off. Should they cool down too much, so that they are difficult to peel, then put them back in your still warm oven and re-heat them for several minutes. Once they are fully peeled, put them on plates or in bowls, and serve them warm and immediately to your hungry guests. They are sure to be delighted by the wonderful treat.
For more information on how to properly prepare and bake chestnuts, simply navigate to the following two links, located at:
Mediterranean Food: Roast Chestnuts
About.com: Roasted Chestnuts
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