This post is dedicated to chestnuts.
Sweet, starchy and flavorful, chestnuts are great source of vitamins and minerals and perfect for all kinds of recipes, from soups and savory meals to sweets and cakes. You would be surprised how many recipes you can make with chestnuts.
Just like any other great thing in life, chestnuts are seasonal and this is the time for you to stock up or just cook and eat as much as possible before they are gone.
There are a few ways to cook chestnuts and I plan to give you the best instructions, which will make your life a little easier.
So, straight to the point – you can either bake chestnuts or boil them. In my opinion and experience roasted chestnuts are amazingly delicious, just sprinkle a little bit of olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper and this could be your perfect movie snack. But, yes, there is a “but” - baked chestnuts are usually hard to peel, they cool off too quickly and then they are almost impossible to peel. So, if you, for instance, need to peel a pound of chestnuts for a recipe (may be a soup) then you will be in a lot of pain, and at least an hour or may be two into this peeling exercise. You don’t want that, plus who has 2 spare hours for peeling chestnuts, well, you probably know the answer to that one.
So, that leaves us to boiling the chestnuts. This for sure is the easiest way to cook chestnuts. Recipe is pretty straight forward – wash chestnuts, make a small cut (an “X” shape) into the flat side of each chestnut, just enough to cut the skin, not the nut and then put in a large sauce pan, bring to boil and cook for about 30 minutes. Remove sauce pan from stove but leave chestnuts in the hot water (chestnuts are easily peeled when warm/hot). Let chestnuts cool off a bit (about 20 minutes) then start peeling them one after another. Take them out of the water one by one. Voila!
Now, you can right away use the amount of chestnuts you need and put the rest of the chestnuts in the freezer for another recipe.
Once you have the cooked and peeled chestnuts things can get more interesting – recipes and options for consuming the chestnuts are endless.
So, now I want to tell you how to make your own homemade chestnut puree – this recipe is pretty much essential for many dessert recipes, mousses and puddings.
200 grams boiled and cleaned chestnuts
300 ml. milk
1 vanilla bean
Add chestnuts and milk to a saucepan. Using a knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into the pan and add the pod, as well. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until chestnuts are very soft and about half of the milk has been absorbed. Remove from stove and strain, saving the milk in a small bowl. Discard the pod. Puree chestnuts with a hand-held blender or in a food processor, adding some of the milk if necessary. In my experience I always end up using all the milk. Just be careful, though, you don’t want to make your puree too thin.
Cover in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to a week. In case you have a few extra ounces of chestnut puree, just put in a freezer proof box and freeze until you need it.