November 24, 2008

Roasting Michigan Chestnuts

I had a chance to take some pictures of the chestnuts I roasted for my cranberry-filled chocolate chestnut cupcakes and thought I'd share them. As a kid I would make my parents buy chestnuts primarily because of that infamous "chestnuts roasting over an open fire" line, I'm a sucker for Christmas music. Of course I'd only eat 1 or 2 chestnuts which probably drove them crazy. I've continued to buy them as an adult and still roast them, eat 1 or 2 and then try to find something like stuffing to throw them in so they don't go to waste. I've never had a chance to make a recipe that really showcases chestnuts. This year I plan on changing that and the cupcakes were just the beginning.

How to roast chestnuts
-Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
-Cut a shallow X into the shell of the rounded side of each chestnut.
-Place the chestnuts flat side down onto a baking sheet.
-Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the shell curls back.
-Cool until safe to handle and remove both shiny, dark brown shell and the furry, papery skin.

Michigan chestnuts

A scored chestnutTwo roasted and peeled chestnuts A pile of roasted, peeled Michigan chestnuts

Some of the recipes I'd like to try:
A skillet method for roasting chestnuts from
Roasted chestnuts and smoked pancetta on a bed of spinach and red quinoa from Lucullian Delights (a mouthful of a recipe title but the ingredients are right up my alley)
Sopa de Castanas (Chestnut soup) from Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried (chestnuts with chorizo, yum!)
Chestnut Apple Ravioli from The Expatriate's Kitchen
Chestnut Rice from Closet Cooking (simple but it sounds really delicious)
Caramelized Onion Butternut Squash Roast with Chestnuts from Cooking Books
Chestnut Mousse from Madcap Cupcake (Alex and I really loved the chestnut frosting and I've been wanting to make this mousse since I saw it back in May.)
Warm sweet potato pudding with apples and chestnuts from (This description sold me "the best sweet-potato pie you've ever eaten and then take away the crust so you can revel solely in its silky goodness")

*Don't forget the Michigan-based Chestnut Growers, Inc. They have upcoming sales in Detroit and East Lansing.