Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sourdough Stuffing With Roasted Chestnuts and Apples: Part 1 Roasting the Chestnuts


Part 1: Roasting the Chestnuts



This Sourdough Stuffing With Roasted Chestnuts and Apples recipe is literally taking me a week to make, so it better be good. It comes from The New Thanksgiving Table by Diane Morgan. This week I'll show you how to prepare the chestnuts for the stuffing in this post, and next week I'll write out the rest of the recipe in a post labeled Part 2.

I have to admit that other than for decorative purposes, I had absolutely no idea what to do with chestnuts, or how to make them edible before I read this recipe. Of course I know that they are supposed to be "roasting on an open fire," but then what? Well, this stuffing recipe that I'm trying this year for the first time calls for roasted chestnuts that should be prepared a week ahead of time and frozen.

I could have wimped out as a cook and bought the vacuum sealed peeled chestnuts, but apparently they lose their flavor and I do not strive for mediocrity. Plus, in my mind, people who can make a decent meal out of nuts are awesome. Eventually, I will be a great cook, even if it takes hundreds of years, or I cut off my fingers trying.

So I purchased real chestnuts and got them for the price of a pound and a half of cucumbers because, as luck would have it, the grocery store cashier needed to phone a friend to figure out the code. The friend didn't know what they were either, which left me wondering as I winked in agreement at the lanky teenage boy who held up the bag and asked me to confirm that it contained cucumbers, why isn't recognizing chestnuts a requirement for high school graduation? I may not know exactly how to eat them, but I know what they look like.

Anyway-

Chestnuts are a totally high maintenance ingredient. They apparently are the divas of my stuffing. This is why:

First you wash them. Next you make slits in the shells flat side up. Then you put them on a roasting pan and bake them in the oven for an hour at 375 degrees. Did I mention that they have to be spritzed with water every 15 minutes? That's the first thing that makes them obnoxious.

When they are tender, you have to peel them while they are warm. Use a paring knife to remove the outer shells and inner brown skins. Throw out the ugly ones- this is not a politically correct recipe. If they are hard to peel you can microwave the chestnuts over and over until they are tender enough to crack easily, but then you have to wait for them to cool off a little again. Not only do you have to peel off the outer shell, but there's an unpleasantly surprising hairy layer underneath that has to be removed as well.

Roast them for about an hour with the shells on.
After you get through all of that, break all the chestnut "meat" into small chunks and put into a freezer bag. Freeze until your ready to make the rest of the stuffing. You can freeze these nuts for up to 2 weeks.
All of that work for a little bag of roasted chestnuts.

I'll post Part 2 of this recipe next week when I finish it for Thanksgiving. Stay tuned readers, and join me next week as I try to make Thanksgiving awesome!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

ur so sweet and funny too. u didn't change. I'm glad.;)

Loren Christie said...

Anonymous,
Well, thanks. I'm not sure if this is a spam comment. If it's not, then who is this?

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.

Fondly,

Loren Christie

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