Richly flavored and healthy, chestnuts are popular, cool-season nuts that grow amply worldwide. This variety of nut is native to hilly forests all over the world, from China and Japan to Europe and North America. Chestnuts have also been savored for centuries by Native Americans as staple foods. In western cultures, chestnuts have strong associative ties to the holidays—they’re referred to in some Christmas songs and are often featured as festive décor or in holiday dishes.
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Chestnuts, which crumble in the mouth and yield a sweet flavor, are low in fat (a trait unique to most nuts)—this often causes them to be compared to grains instead of other varieties of nuts. They’re also rich in dietary fiber and an assortment of important minerals, like iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Since they’re quite starchy, chestnuts are similar to foods like sweet potatoes and corn. However, they also contain high quality proteins. Chestnuts help to prevent heart problems, provide energy, are very low in cholesterol and are therefore great to include in a healthy diet.
Chestnuts are available in the markets from October through March, peaking in December. To verify freshness, cut open some sample nuts and check for heavy, meaty, white kernels inside. Avoid nuts with a greenish color between the convoluted folds and the nut kernel.
Source: www.nutrition-and-you.com/chestnuts.html, organicfacts.net
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Chestnut and Bacon Risotto With Savoy Cabbage
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 ounces side bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely diced
4 celery ribs, finely diced
3/4 cup arborio rice
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
7 ounces cooked chestnuts
1 cup savoy cabbage, finely shredded
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Prep Time: 0 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
1. Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan.
3. Add the bacon, onion and celery, cooking gently until the onion is translucent and the bacon is cooked.
4. Add the rice and stir so that the rice becomes coated in the oil.
5. Add the vermouth and stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
6. Now add a ladleful of stock and continue to stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.
7. Continue this process for 15 minutes, adding stock by the ladleful.
8. Then add the chestnuts and cabbage and continue to cook, adding stock by the ladleful until all the rice is creamy but still has bite – about another 5 minutes.
9. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the butter.
10. Divide between serving bowls and pass the Parmesan cheese.
Auberge Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing With Chestnuts and Orange
2 ounces butter
6 pink shallots, peeled & roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves stripped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh celery top
6 ounces stale bread, cut into cubes
2 cooking apples, cored & chopped into cubes
4 ounces vacuum packed chestnuts, chopped
4 ounces dried cranberries
1 large orange, zest of
1 lb good quality pork sausage
salt and black pepper
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
1. Melt butter in a large pan and gently fry the chopped shallots, rosemary & thyme leaves together for about 10 minutes or until shallots are soft & golden.
2. Tip them into a large bowl & add the celery tops, bread, apples, chestnuts, cranberries & orange zest.
3. Divide the sausage meat into small balls the size of walnuts.
4. Fry in the juices from the shallots in the same pan until the pieces are golden & well cooked.
5. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
6. Stir to mix well, mashing all the ingredients together with the back of a fork.
7. Season with salt & black pepper.
8. Use the stuffing to stuff the neck end of a large chicken or turkey.
9. Put the remaining stuffing into a well greased ovenproof dish & cover with buttered foil.
10. Bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/360F or Gas mark 4 for about 45 minutes or until well cooked through.
11. You can remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to brown the top if you wish.
12. Makes enough stuffing to stuff a 12-14 lb turkey.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chestnut puree
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Prep Time: 50 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 1 hrs 15 mins
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, salt, nutmeg and pepper; mix. Make a well in the center and add eggs and 2 tablespoons olive oil; beat well. In a bowl combine chestnut puree and 1/2 cup water; add to egg mixture. Incorporate flour and egg mix. Dough will be very stiff. Adjust with more flour or water. Knead for 10 minutes and allow dough to rest for 5 minutes.
2. Cut off a handful of dough. With a rolling pin, roll 6 inch wide strips, 1/16″ thick. Use a pasta machine if you have one. Dust strips with flour. Allow to slightly dry on muslin cloth. Cut into long pasta 1/4″ wide. Dry for 30 minutes.
3. Add pasta to a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water with a tablespoon of oil. Boil for 5 minutes; drain. Mix pasta with olive oil, minced garlic, Romano cheese, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Roasted Chestnuts Oven or Stove Top
1 1/2-2 lbs chestnuts, Using a sharp knife cut an X into one side of the chestnut to allow the steam caused by roasting to release
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
salt (to season)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
1. Toss chestnuts with oil.
2. In a dry pan over low heat heat pan till hot, then add chestnuts cover and stir every few minutes for 15 minutes.
3. Add water and continue to roast, covered and stirring until water is evaporated and chestnuts are tender about 5 minutes.
4. Serve hot with salt.
5. Or Oven method:.
6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
7. Roast unseasoned chestnuts for 20 to 30 minutes or until chestnuts are tender, easy to peel, golden brown in color, and the shells are beginning to open. For even roasting, gently stir to turn them over after about 10 minutes. The sliced part of the shells will curl back.
8. Remove the nuts from the oven, make a mound of them in an old towel, wrap them up, squeeze them hard — they should crackle — and let them sit for a few minutes.
9. Meanwhile open a bottle of vino, pour yourself a glass, Peel nuts when they are cool enough to handle, and serve with salt if desired. Because hot chestnuts peel easier than cold ones.
Chestnut and Cranberry Dressing
3 cups unsalted vegetable stock
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb sourdough bread or 1 lb country bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, toasted in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes
2 cups chestnuts, halved
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 2 1/2 – 3 quart backing dish.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the stock until steam starts to rise, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add dried cranberries. Set aside.
3. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add onion, celery and carrots and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
4. If using, in same pan, saute the sausage, stirring and crumbling with a fork, until lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl with vegetables.
5. In a large bowl, stir the egg while slowly pouring in the stock and cranberries. Add the bread and toss until well blended. Let standing, stirring occasionally, until the stock is absorbed, 6-8 minutes.
6. Add the vegetable mixture, chestnuts, sage, thyme and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to mix. Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake until browned and crispy, about 45-50 minutes.
Chestnut Soup With Bacon – Velouté De Chataignes Et Bacon
7 ounces cooked and peeled whole chestnuts
1 stalk celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 pints ham or 2 pints vegetable stock
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pint creme fraiche or 1/2 pint single pouring cream
FOR THE CROUTONS
4 ounces lardons or 4 ounces bacon, cubed
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leave
4 ounces day-old white bread, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
1. To make the soup, you simply place all the ingredients, except the crème fraiche or cream, in a large saucepan.
2. Season lightly with salt and pepper, bring up to simmering point, then put a lid on and simmer very gently for 45 minutes.
3. While that is happening, you can prepare the croutons.
4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon gently for 5 minutes, then turn the heat up to its highest setting, add the cubes of bread, together with the thyme, and toss them around (keeping them constantly on the move) until they, and the bacon, have turned a deep golden brown colour and become very crisp and crunchy.
5. Take them out & leave them to cool on some absorbent kitchen paper.
6. As soon as the soup is ready, add the crème fraiche or cream & mix well – allow it to cool slightly, and then transfer it to a blender and purée until smooth. (You may need to do this in more than one batch, in which case, it is a good idea to have a bowl to put the soup in as it is ready.).
7. Re-heat the soup in the pan, season to taste and serve in warmed soup bowls, with the croutons, bacon and thyme sprinkled over.
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