Chestnuts, roasted chestnuts in particular, are ones of the highlights of autumn for me. Roasted chestnuts are a very nostalgic dish, bringing memories of a happy childhood ; but also memories of an awful lot of fun in London town. I look forward, every year, to seeing these handsome nuts in the shops, it seems to make up for the golden queen peaches leaving the shops.
Mum has usually roasted chestnuts in the oven, but I have vague memories of them roasting over an open fire - is this just a romaticised memory? I will have to check.
This is the sort of food for which you must work. Like spare ribs, chicken wings, artichokes and prawns. That is a list of my favourite foods!
While working for your food is a good thing, you do not want to work too hard. This is how I roast my chestnuts in order to give the satisfaction of a bit of work, but to make that work as easy as possible :
Cut a cross in the flatter sides of the chestnuts.
Soak the chestnuts in cold water for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200°c.
Drain the chestnuts and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
Peel each chestnut as you go with the help of a serviette, dipping in some salt as you eat.
The soaking and the residual water in the skins helps with peeling the chestnuts, but this will get more difficult as they cool down. To help them stay hotter for longer, keep wrapped in a serviette as you eat.
Just the thing for a cold and wet weekend.