How to Roast and Peel Chestnuts
Forget the open fire. It's easy to prepare great roasted chestnuts in the oven.
Freshly roasted chestnuts are a wintertime tradition--but you don't need an open fire or special equipment to make them--just a hot oven and a little patience.
Make Sure They're Fresh
Some methods call for soaking chestnuts in water before roasting them. But if they are fresh, soaking is unnecessary. Look for whole chestnuts that have tight, shiny skins and are heavy for their size. Wrinkled or dull-looking chestnuts are old and nearly impossible to peel.
Score the Chestnuts
Start with a hot oven—about 425 degrees F. Put the chestnuts flat-side down on a steady surface and use a sharp paring knife to "score," or cut an X-shape into the rounded side of each nut. Cut deep enough to pierce the skin without cutting into the nutmeat.
Place in a Single Layer
Place the chestnuts on a baking sheet in an even layer. Don't crowd your pan.
Roast Until Tender
Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the skins have curled and pulled back, and the nutmeats have softened. Cooking time can vary depending on size, so rely on visual cues to determine doneness.
Check for Doneness
To check if they're ready, poke your knife through the opening where the skin has pulled back. It should easily pierce through.
Use Your Hands
Cool the chestnuts, then peel the skin off with your hands. Use a paring knife, if necessary, for stubborn skins.
Now enjoy your freshly roasted chestnuts with family and friends.