Roast Chestnuts for a Christmas or Holiday Party

As the cool crisp days of fall give way to winter, certain seasonal foods come to mind. Things that are synonymous with the season are egg nog, fruit cake and of course roasted chestnuts. Anyone who has sung Christmas carols has sure come across the line “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” made famous in the Mel Torme classic song about the season. Also, people who have wandered the wonderful streets of New York during the holiday season have smelled the wafting of roasted chestnuts while waiting in line in Rockefeller center.

To add a touch of the season to a dinner party or holiday gathering, try roasting chestnuts and serving them as an appetizer along with a cheese plate. Many grocers across the country carry the American Chestnut from late October through the beginning of January. Here is a simple way to roast chestnuts.

Things You’ll Need

  • Chestnuts
  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • Knife

Roasting Chestnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Using the knife make a small “x” on the chestnut slicing through the shell into the meat of the skin.
  3. Place the chestnuts on a cookie sheet.
  4. Place the chestnuts in the oven for 25 minutes.
  5. Remove the chestnuts from the oven and allow them to cool for just a couple of minutes. (Chestnuts must be peeled right away as soon as they are cool enough to be handled.)
  6. Peel the chestnuts.
  7. Serve the chestnuts while still warm and toasty to family and friends.

Toss the Chestnuts in Butter and Salt

While chestnuts are certainly delicious after merely roasting them, some people like a little extra butter and salt to enhance the flavors even further. After peeling the chestnuts, melt a half stick of butter in a pan, add salt to taste and give the chestnuts and quick toss in the pan so that they are evenly coated. Then place the chestnuts in a dish alongside with a serving spoon and napkins.

Use Chestnuts in a Salad

There are a few companies that bottle chestnuts both in and out of the shell year round. They make a great addition to a leaf salad along side a wonderful gorgonzola cheese and sweet apple slices.

Always Buy a Few Extra

There’s no real way to tell if a chestnut is rotten right after it starts to turn. The shell will still feel firm, while the core at the inside will have started to turn black. Therefore when buying chestnuts, always buy a few extra as there will certainly be a handful that have turned once you peel the shell.

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