What's the best way to eat chestnuts?
October 29, 2021 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Minipangolin convinced me to impulse-buy some chestnuts at the grocery store. They've been sitting on the counter for 2 weeks now, waiting for me to do something with them. How should I prepare them? Savory and sweet are both fine. I have about a pound. I've never cooked with chestnuts before and I just need one good recipe/inspiration/instruction.
posted by juliapangolin to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Chestnut Soup
posted by zamboni at 6:35 AM on October 29, 2021

Best answer: I like to cut a slash in the top for the steam to escape, put them on a cookie sheet and roast them. Roast at 425* and watch them carefully. They could take as long as 25 minutes but might take less than half of that depending on their size and how much moisture is in them. You'll know they are done when the meat inside the skin turns soft.

If they look a bit dried out right now you can soak them before you roast them.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:38 AM on October 29, 2021 [9 favorites]

I'm a huge fan of this chestnut risotto.
posted by ook at 7:04 AM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Cooked as JtB suggests, they taste kind of like...."nutty baked potato"?

So many keep your expectations modest. I always wanted to eat some and then I finally got to try them. I was underwhelmed: there's *waaaaay* more "Christmas Carol" romance around them than they really deserve. :7)

(If anyone has a more flavorful way to cook chestnuts, I am all ears!)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:05 AM on October 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

Beef Wellington (e.g., Gordon Ramsay's)
posted by glibhamdreck at 7:05 AM on October 29, 2021

Kuri Gohan (Japanese chestnut rice). I can't vouch for the linked recipe but it'll give the general idea, it's a pretty simple dish.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:08 AM on October 29, 2021

Make your own chestnut paste so you can make the best pumpkin pie ever.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:30 AM on October 29, 2021

Strongly seconding the idea of keeping your taste expectations modest. I've found them very satisfying as a tactile experience--roasting them them in a moderately-dangerous-for-kids way in the coals of a fireplace, purchasing a handwarming paper cone of them on a sleety Christmas Eve in Paris, etc.--but IME it's more a fun activity than a taste sensation.

The best way I've eaten them may be more complicated than you & mini-you are looking for: as an ingredient in Thanksgiving turkey stuffing. (Or a vegetarian dressing on the side.) I've made ones with Italian sausage and with fennel, and they're great. Here's one with fennel & pancetta that I've liked.
posted by miles per flower at 7:32 AM on October 29, 2021 [2 favorites]

I like them roasted as explained above then peeled, rolled around in some butter to melt and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
posted by drlith at 7:58 AM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Roast at 425° and watch them carefully.

You're making what the Swiss & Austrians call maroni and the Italians, marroni. I've seen these roasted nut-meats mashed up and served with ice cream, in Switzerland.
posted by Rash at 8:18 AM on October 29, 2021

Best answer: I like them pureed in a soup with parsnips and/or celery root.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:05 AM on October 29, 2021

I really like this paté from Veganomicon and have made it for many holiday parties.
posted by carolr at 9:23 AM on October 29, 2021

I did the same to my parents when I was smol, and I remember my thinking was 1. They 'pop' in the song, I wanted to see this, so we did try to roast them at the fireside and found the 'pop' to be very minor, not worth it and 2. People go on about how delicious and again, disappointing to anyone who's grown up with high fructose corn syrup. I'd suggest divvying them into a couple batches and trying some the old-fashioned way, then do the rest in the oven, eat a couple plain and then mash up the rest in a recipe to get rid of them.
posted by The otter lady at 10:19 AM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I make loads of chestnut risotto and then use the leftovers as a basis for arancini / nut roast / veggie burgers
posted by tardigrade at 11:33 AM on October 29, 2021

Chestnuts are a a fond memory from my childhood. They were sold roasted on the street in Paris and New York. Haven't eaten any in ages, but now I've got the craving. I'm going to try microwaving them. I remember also chestnut-filled chocolates; I'm not ambitious in the kitchen but might nuke some, cut them in small pieces and mix with dark chocolate chips and eat them by the handful.
posted by mareli at 1:24 PM on October 29, 2021

We do the basic oven baked thing wenestvedt describes, but for a more tactile, snacky experience slit the tops then wrap a bunch in tinfoil and stick them in fire embers, if you have access to them. As others say, portion control is a good idea, a pound is three portions I reckon.
posted by biffa at 1:38 PM on October 29, 2021

I like them pureed in a soup with parsnips and/or celery root.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:05 AM on October 29

That sounds delicious! Do you have a recipe?
posted by sardonyx at 1:41 PM on October 29, 2021

Chestnut-chocolate mousse. wenestvedt's nutty baked potato aspect nicely foils the sweetness of the choc.

Trad here is to cross-cut the roundy side and dry-roast on a little shovel in the wood-burning stove: simple pleasures. 40% of the weight is the skin, I think ??
posted by BobTheScientist at 1:46 PM on October 29, 2021

roast and add to thanksgiving stuffing/dressing
posted by mmascolino at 2:54 PM on October 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Update: We roasted, ate a few, and made the rest into soup. We all thought the soup was delicious and will probably buy them again just to make it. Thanks everyone!
posted by juliapangolin at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

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