Ever try roasted chesnuts, like the ones you sing about in Christmas carols?
Well, I think they are yummy! Better yet, take them to a party, throw them in your host’s oven for 20 minutes, and instead of people feeling sorry for you because you can’t eat Christmas Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies — or whatever — they’ll be all interested in the weird thing you brought, that they’ve always sung about but never tried!
So here’s what you do:
Pre-heat oven to 425F.
Clean chestnuts (make sure you get the edible kind, not the horse chestnut kind we grow all over the the Vancouver/Victoria, BC, region of Western Canada), and score a decent “X” in the shell.
Although this takes a bit of labour and a sharp knife, this step is *very* important. The “X” does two things: keeps them from exploding from the build-up of steam inside the shell, and makes them much, much easier to open once they are ready to eat.
Spread them out on a cookie sheet, and pop in the middle of the oven (too close to the element and they’ll scorch before they are roasted).
Roast for 15-25 minutes, i.e. 20 minutes give or take a few, then pull out of the oven and let them cool a little until they are safe to handle.
Un-scored chestnuts can even explode after this, so be careful in case you missed one; no one likes missles flying around the kitchen!
Shell both the outer hard shell and the inner woody shell (good for slowing down consumption and turning it into a little bit of an event), eat, and enjoy!