Variation(s): There are hundreds of varieties of chestnut trees, many produce clusters of nuts, while others produce single chestnuts. Not all chestnuts are edible.
Tip(s): select chestnuts that are firm and plump with no blemishes on the shell. They can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, in plastic zip-lock bags, or frozen up to 5 months. Be sure to cut a slit in the flat part of the shell before roasting or boiling to prevent the nuts from exploding. To intensify the flavor and make its texture more velvety, cut slit in the shells, place nuts in covered casserole dish with 2-3 tbsp. of water, and bake at 4250F until then when pierced with a knife, just about 30 minutes. Peel while warm.
Seasonality: Fall – winter
Best Cooking Method(s): boil, candy, grill, puree, raw, roast
Culinary uses: roasted nuts can be ground into flour; boiled nuts yield the consistency of potatoes which can be pureed; a culinary favorite marrons glaces, is a delicacy available in patisseries, are peeled whole chestnuts preserved in sweet syrup. Chestnuts work equally well in sweet and savory dishes and add a rich, earthy flavor to salads, stews, soups, stuffings and rice dishes; pureed in chocolate mousse; pureed and stuffed in ravioli; creamed as a filling in crepes, cakes, and torts; roasted and braised with goose or duck.
Key nutritional attributes: high in natural sugar, hence its delicate sweet flavor, chestnuts are rich in Vitamin C (helps body fight infections), riboflavin (metabolizes food), thiamine (enhances energy and normal appetite), foliate, iron, and phosphorus. Chestnuts have no cholesterol and only 37 calories with less than 1 gram of fat per ounce (cooked) – lower in fat than most nuts. Here’s a thorough nutritional profile for roasted chestnuts.
Complementary Ingredient Guide:
(ingredients in bold text are most compatible)
|Herb Garden & Spice Rack||bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, nutmeg, sage, thyme, rosemary|
|Vegetable & Fruit Garden||Vegetables: brussels sprouts, carrots, celery, celery root, fennel, ginger, mushroom (cépes/porcini), onions, shallots, sweet potatoes
Fruit: apples, figs, lemon, orange, pears, plums/prunes
|Dairy Farm||butter (unsalted), cream, crème fraiche, mascarpone, ricotta|
|Stocks & Consumes||chicken|
|Pasta, Legumes & Grains||lentils, risotto|
|Meat||bacon, ham, pancetta, pork, prosciutto, sausage|
|Poultry & Game||chicken, duck, goose, turkey|
|Fish & Shellfish||scallops|
|Liquors||Armagnac, brandy, cognac, rum, sherry, wine (esp. sweet like Marsala, Madeira)|
|Condiments & Miscellaneous||caramel, chestnut flour, chocolate, coffee, honey, maple syrup, pepper (black), raisins, sugar (esp. brown), vanilla|