Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
Jack Frost nipping at your nose…
Except it’s not quite Christmas yet. It’s early November! Roasted chestnuts are a deliciously warm treat that you can enjoy throughout the winter period. We’re serving ours with salted caramel as a winter warmer or on fireworks night.
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Preparing the Chestnuts
Start by cutting your chestnuts with a slash or cross on one side. This needs to be done whether you’re oven roasting chestnuts or using the fire. You need to pierce the tough outer shell but not cut into the soft nut inside.
Oven Roasting Chestnuts
If you’re not a traditionalist, then oven roasting chestnuts is a great way to cook them all through without having to worry whether the occasional one needs “to stay on longer”.
Heat your oven to 220C.
Place the chestnuts in a shallow baking tray with cuts/slashes facing upwards.
Roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the edges of the shell are starting to pull back to reveal the pale nut inside.
Take them out of the oven and leave to cool a little before peeling and fully removing the shells.
Using an Open Fire to Roast Chestnuts
If you are using a fire instead, you first need to get up a good blaze. We tend to roast chestnuts on the fire in the evenings when it’s already been roaring for several hours, if not the entire day.
Let your fire burn low until you’ve got a good spread of hot glowing embers.
Place the cut chestnuts in a special pan (or you can use a baking tray) and place this directly on the embers. Keep a careful eye on the chestnuts, making sure they don’t burn. Take out the pan and shake them a little if need be.
They will crack and pop a bit so make sure you have nothing near the fire while you’re doing this. Place a fire guard around it or close the doors slightly if it is an enclosed fireplace.
Depending on how hot the fire is, your chestnuts could take up to 10 minutes. They will smell lovely when ready and the skins will be pulling away slightly from the pale nut inside. Don’t worry if the outside shell is blackened on one side.
Take the pan out (be careful to make sure no embers cling to the bottom) and shake the roasted chestnuts onto some newspaper or kitchen roll. Leave until they’re cool enough to touch.
The skins should be easy enough to peel away.
Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe
To make the salted caramel dipping sauce, you will need:
- 200g brown sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 50g butter
- Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients apart from the salt in a saucepan and gently heat until all is melted and combined.
Turn up the heat until there are bubbles in the mixture and then reduce down until you’re left with a gloopy caramel sauce.
Start to add salt, tasting the mixture every now and then until you reach a flavour and consistency you’re happy with.
Leave the sauce to cool a little, serving it drizzled over the roasted chestnuts.
Alternatively, you can cool the sauce and serve with the freshly roasted, hot chestnuts speared on skewers!
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