Choose your method of preparing chestnuts!
Using a microwave is a fast and easy way for the whole family to enjoy the taste of fireplace roasting. Make a slit in the bottom side of each nut or cut in half. It is important to at least make a slit or the chestnuts could explode! Place 8 to 10 chestnuts on a paper plate and use a roast setting for 2 minutes. Each microwave is different and you will have to experiment with your time and heat settings. When the nuts are roasted enough, the skins will begin to pull back slightly and the outer shell will separate easily from the nut.
Another variation for microwave use is to cut the fresh chestnuts in half. Lay them down in a small microwave dish with a small amount of water in the bottom. Microwave on simmer or low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Usually the chestnuts will just pop out of their shells.
The Boiling Method:
If you have time to plan ahead, soak the nuts in water overnight to soften the shells. The next day, boil the chestnuts for about 1 hour before peeling. Using a slotted spoon, take out a small batch and drain, then peel off the shell and skin. Keep the remaining unpeeled chestnuts hot until you are ready to peel them. The hot water is what keeps the shells and skins loose. No incision is needed using this method and the nut keeps it's full flavor.
The Quick Method:
When you need to be quick about peeling the chestnuts, use your stovetop. First, lay each nut flat side down and cut it in half. Drop the chestnuts into a pot of boiling water and boil for 3 - 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and drain a few at a time. Peel off the shell and skin with a paring knife. Sometimes the nuts may just be popped right out of their skins.
The Roasting Method:
First, cut a slit on the flat side of each nut. If you don't cut them, they may 'pop', burning you or messing up your oven. Place these nuts in an oven pan such as an iron skillet or something that can be used on the stove top as well. Add 1/2 t. butter or margarine to each cup of chestnuts. Shake over medium heat on stovetop until butter is melted. Put the pan in a 400- degree F oven and roast for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven, cool enough to handle and peel off the shells with a small knife. Do it while they are still warm, making them much easier to peel.
The Yankee Chef™
..........It's Just That Simple!