Roasting Chestnuts

Vaello 28cm traditional Spanish Chestnut Roasting Pan

Having gratefully received a chestnut-roasting pan for Christmas, Poppy Watt’s thoughts are now with the dilemma of what can I use it for throughout the rest of the year.

My long-handled, heavy-duty pan with holes on the bottom certainly is an invaluable chestnut-roasting tool. The holes are designed to assist with heat diffusion whilst cooking and allow a smoky fragrance to enrich the flavor of my nuts and slowly turn the hard fruits into a perfect tasty treat.

The depth of the pan which in my case is a couple of inches allows you to gently shake the chestnuts and move them around whilst cooking, preventing them from burning and allowing them to cook evenly.

The long handle protects your hands from the flames particularly if you are using on an open fire, BBQ or fire pit. However this little gem can also be used on electric or gas hob, so is very versatile.

Slowly roasted, the chestnut, which is more like a starch than a nut, makes the perfect sweet and savory snack. Plus it’s healthy: low in fat and calories, full of fiber, calcium, and vitamin C. Once cooked, its texture is similar to that of a baked potato, with a delicate, sweet, and nutty flavour.

The good news is you can use a chestnut roaster pan all year-round – in the winter for chestnuts or anything else you want to roast. With a little foil in the bottom and with the use of a lid, perfect for popcorn any time of the year and in the summer useful for cooking alfresco foods over a campfire or on the beach.

Here is the perfect recipe for your Fire-roasted chestnuts.

Ingredients: 

1 to 2 pounds fresh chestnuts in the shell

Directions:

Rinse chestnuts in a colander, and then transfer them to a towel and pat dry.

Use a sharp knife to cut an X on the flat-side of each chestnut (this allows steam to escape as the chestnut roasts so it doesn't explode).

Place chestnuts in a single layer in the pan. Do this in batches, if necessary.

Place pan over the fire but not in the fire and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until all sides of the nuts are roasted. Chestnuts will be fragrant, browned and starting to pop open where you scored them with a knife.

A little salt added to the pan will help to generate a better flavour to the chestnuts

Carefully pull a chestnut out of the pan and pierce it with a knife. If it is tender, the nuts are done.

Transfer chestnuts to a towel and let sit until cool enough to handle. While the nuts are still warm, use your fingers to peel off the outer shell.

Let nuts continue to cool or simply pop them into your mouth.

Poppy Watt

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