Sunday, December 22, 2013

Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted chestnuts are easy to make at home, on the barbecue pit or in the oven. Either way, the chestnuts are succulently delicious. Give them a try!

Food Lust People Love: Roasted chestnuts are easy to make at home, on the barbecue pit or in the oven. Either way, the chestnuts are succulently delicious. Give them a try!
Okay, first let me say that this isn’t even a recipe.  Just a method.  And I debated with myself a few hundred times after adding it to the list of Sunday Supper posts because Sunday Supper is all about bringing folks back around the family dinner table with good food and I wasn’t sure this qualified.   Our theme this week, hosted by the lovely Tammi of Momma’s Meals, is food inspired by holiday songs or movies.  Mine is, of course, The Christmas Song.

I roasted the first group of chestnuts over coals at a friend’s house, and they were good but, frankly, we were all full from a good grilled lunch and enthusiasm was low for a snack.  So, on the verge of removing my name from the Sunday Supper list a couple of weeks later, I roasted the second set, albeit in the oven.  I opened the foil packet of the roasted nuts and the steam came up in small swirls from their peeling brown husks.  As I worked the hard shell off, then the softer inner shell, I popped that first sweet piece of chestnut into my mouth and, well, I made up my mind.  A method is enough.  Let me take you back.

It was late fall of 1985 and New York City was already bitterly cold.  There’s a special smell about the city in the winter.  Steamy, almost fetid air gusts from tunnels and drains below the streets, the faint eau-de-mothball drifting off the citizens, the exhaust fumes hanging low, trapped by the heavy cold atmosphere, and the chestnuts roasting over coals in big metal barrels.  

We had arrived on a red-eye from Houston, to visit my father who was living an hour’s train ride north of the city in the bedroom community of Bronxville. The goal:  Ordering my wedding dress. Those of you who have watched Say Yes to the Dress will recognize the name Kleinfeld, the Brooklyn shop where brides have been buying dresses since 1941. Well, that's where I went to get this little number.

You can't even see how huge these sleeves are here!  And the train was six feet long.

The entire weekend was a whirlwind of action and excitement but one of my fondest memories is warming my hands around the warm brown paper bags full of roasted chestnuts, bought off a street corner vendor in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. And if you haven’t tried roasted chestnuts, you just need to. 

There are tons of recipes on the internet using roasted chestnuts, ranging from soup to stuffing to salad, but I’d like to encourage you to peel them and pop them straight into your mouth, and savor the sweet nutmeat of winter with your family.

1 pound or 1/2 kilo of fresh chestnuts

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Or light coals in your barbecue pit.  The fire is ready when the coals are all grey around the outside.)

Cut a crisscross in the rounded side of each chestnut with the tip of a very sharp knife.

Wrap the chestnuts in a double layer of foil, cut side up.

Food Lust People Love: Roasted chestnuts are easy to make at home, on the barbecue pit or in the oven. Either way, the chestnuts are succulently delicious. Give them a try!

Roast for around 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven or in your barbecue pit.  If using the pit, set the foil packet off to one side, not directly over the hot coals and put the lid on enough to keep in the heat without smothering the fire.

Remove from the oven or barbecue pit and carefully open the foil.  Allow the chestnuts to cool enough to handle and then peel and eat!

Food Lust People Love: Roasted chestnuts are easy to make at home, on the barbecue pit or in the oven. Either way, the chestnuts are succulently delicious. Give them a try!

Meanwhile, at our house, we are dancing to Christmas music, decorating a tree and celebrating a 23rd birthday today.  Happy birthday to my precious Victoria!

Woo hoo for almost Christmas birthdays! 

This is such a fun Sunday Supper week!  Check out all the songs and movies that have inspired us to cook and bake all these great dishes!

Party Appetizers & Snacks

Oven-Roasted Applesauce Scented with Rosemary & Vanilla inspired by the song “Christmas in the Trenches”Shockingly Delicious
Roasted Chestnuts inspired by the song “The Christmas Song” – Food Lust People Love
A Popcorn Trio
 inspired by the song “Let it Snow” - Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
Chai Tea Abominable Snow Buddies
 inspired by the movie “Rudolph” – Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Raisin Bran Muffins for a Crowd
 inspired by the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” - In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maurene
Icicle Candy and Reindeer Snacks 
inspired by the movie “Snow” – Treats & Trinkets
A Christmas Carol Plum Pudding
 inspired by the movie “A Christmas Carol” – No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
Yukon Mashed Potato Cakes
 inspired by the movie “Rudolph” - Cookin’ Mimi
Christmas Pudding
 inspired by the song “Over the River and Through the Woods” - A Kitchen Hoor
Pumpkin Pudding
 inspired by the movie “Nightmare Before Christmas” - Basic N Delicious
Elf-Inspired Christmas “Grams”
 inspired by the movie “Elf” - MarocMama
 inspired by the movie “The Nutcracker” – Happy Baking Days
Chai Spiced Roasted Nuts
 inspired by the song “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” - Take A Bite Out of Boca

Festive Main Dishes

Maple Syrup Spaghetti- inspired by the movie “Elf”- Momma’s Meals
Who Hash inspired by the movie “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” - girlichef
Ginger Orange Glazed Cornish Hens inspired by the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” - Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
NY Hot Dog with Sabrett-style Onion Sauce inspired by the movie “Die Hard” - Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Classic Caesar Salad inspired by the movie “The Santa Clause” – The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Individual Meatloaves & Horseradish Mashed Potatoes for Mommy’s Little Piggies - inspired by the movie “A Christmas Story” – The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Christmas Waffles inspired by the TV special “A Claymation Christmas Celebration” – Curious Cuisiniere
Filthy Animal Pizza
 inspired by the movie “Home Alone” – Foxes Love Lemons
Chicken Orzo Soup
 inspired by the song “12 Days of Christmas” - Family Foodie
Brandied Candied Sweet Potatoes
 inspired by the song “Christmas Is The Time To Say ‘I Love You’ ” - Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Sweet Holiday Treats

Gin and Tonic Cupcakes inspired by Adam Sandler’s ” The Chanukah Song” - The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars inspired by the movie “Love Actually” – Magnolia Days
Gingerbread Marshmallows inspired by the song “Marshmallow World” – Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies inspired by the movie “The Gremlins” – Killer Bunnies, Inc.
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge inspired by the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” – Alida’s Kitchen
Snowball Cookies - inspired by the movie “White Christmas” - The Foodie Army Wife
Penuche Fudge
 inspired by the movie “Elf” – Pies and Plots
Hot Chocolate Cookies
 inspired by the movie “Santa Clause” - Mess Makes Food
South Pacific Coconut Tres Leche Cake
 inspired by the movie “South Pacific” - The Ninja Baker
Cookies & Cream Fudge
 inspired by the movie “Elf” – The Messy Baker

Cozy Drinks

Toasted Coconut Hot Cocoa - inspired by the song “Let It Snow”Chocolate Moosey
The Christmas Gram inspired by the movie “Elf” – An Appealing Plan
Eggnog Hot Chocolate inspired by the movie “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” - Peanut Butter and Peppers
Vermont Hot Cocoa
 inspired by the movie “White Christmas” – Kudos Kitchen By Renee
Spiked Hot Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Floats
 inspired by the song “Holly Jolly Christmas “ -NeighborFood


  1. I'm giggling over your note about the size of the sleeves of your wedding dress. It's a lovely photo and dress and really reflects the year you were married. I have to confess I've never had a roasted chestnut. I'll give your method a try and see how they taste. Have a very merry Christmas!

  2. We just went to New York for Thanksgiving and I have to say the smell of the chestnuts roasting is my favourite thing. Even without stopping for them it seemed to warm us up. We are going to pick up some chestnuts to roast in the open fire at my in-laws this year. Can't wait.

  3. You know, I have never eaten a roasted chestnut. Shame on me! Love your wedding dress.

  4. I thought I had a photo on my computer of the whole thing, Renee, but I had to crop my grandparents out to add this. Funny how styles change but this was the dress of my dreams at the time. You'll love chestnuts! They are amazingly sweet and nutty.

  5. Thank you, Tammi, and thank you for hosting this great theme. You need to try chestnuts. Really, you do! They are wonderful.

  6. I thought I was quite the thing in those big mutton sleeves, Liz! You can't compare freeze-dried chestnuts to fresh. I've been seeing them in all the supermarkets here in the northeast so I hope you can find some too.

  7. It's just the best smell, isn't it?! You should have bought some, Laura, if only to hold them in your coat pocket to warm your hands!

  8. I don't think you are alone, Jennie, but there's always time to rectify that!

  9. What a fabulous story! I have only been to NYC once and it was this time of year. I know what you mean. And I am inspired to try roasting chestnuts! They are so yummy but I usually purchase them from a farmer's market vendor here, never try to roast my own.

  10. I love roasted chestnuts! Thanks for the reminder, Stacy!

  11. This reminds me of going nut collecting with my Oma. We used to go get hickory nuts and then sit in front of the fireplace and enjoy them. Good memories.

  12. You have brought back so many wonderful memories of roasted chestnuts in NYC... loved growing up near the city. I can't believe I have not made roasted chestnuts... that must change immediately. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. So glad that you are part of the Sunday Supper Family.

  13. I just had roasted chestnuts for the first time when I visited Spain in October! Thanks for sharing your lovely memories and the recipe!

  14. I've never eaten one but they're called maroons here (French for chestnut). I almost bought some a few days ago but realized I had no clue how to cook them. Thanks for sharing this and next week I'm getting some!

  15. A method is totally good enough, especially since there are people like me who have never had a roasted chestnut!

  16. I haven't made them myself so it's a great reminder! Thanks for sharing your post.

  17. I'm so glad you posted this! I've always wanted to roast chestnuts, and now I know how!

  18. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...Christmas is not complete without chestnuts. So glad you added your delightful method and story...NYC in any season is exciting. But oh my Kleinfeld wedding dress shopping and buying sidewalk chestnuts...How splendid! P.s. Roasted chestnuts (kuri) are a staple in Japan, too, when temps drop =)

  19. Wait....are you telling me that Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire isn't the name of the song?! It's called The Christmas Song? Now I really do feel Jewish. LOL.

    Btw, I've never actually had a chestnut and would never know how to roast them, thanks for the tutorial!

  20. I have ALWAYS wanted to roast chestnuts!! We actually had some in Turkey recently..they are a popular vendor snack and you see the guys all over the City!

  21. They sell them all year round in Malaysia where we lived for many years, but they roast them with something that doesn't smell as good, Samantha, so I never bought them. I didn't know other countries are fond of chestnuts as well!

  22. That's the right name, Shaina, but many people just call it the chestnut song. Best starting line ever! You need to try them. Delicious!

  23. They sell them in Chinatown in KL year round, Kim. But they don't smell as nice somehow. It was a great weekend indeed.

  24. Just make sure not to miss cutting the cross in any, Laura. I have it on good authority that if the chestnut is not cut open, it will blow up in your oven!

  25. They are so easy, Shannon. Do give them a try!

  26. I had never roasted chestnuts until I met my husband. It's a family tradition for him, that we've adopted. They are so tasty!

  27. I always wanted to know how to roast chestnuts! Thanks so much for opening my eyes, and they look yummy!

  28. Haha, LOVE this post Stace! The wedding dress, the happy Christmas tree decorators, the wonderful method for the chestnuts (wish that I read this a looong time ago, it would've saved me from cleaning a lot of exploded chestnut meat out of my oven!). Wishing you and your family a very merry Christmas! xx

  29. I have always wondered what roasted chesnuts were actually like. I've never had them, but your story made me really want them! I'm so glad you decided to share after all.

  30. Oh, I just love your wedding picture :) And this method/recipe totally counts! I've honestly never tried a chestnut, and I really want to!


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