Ode to the ChestnutAugust 8, 2015
Being down under as we are, you may have felt the same heartache as me around Christmas. Summer is all well and good, but there is something about standing around in sweltering heat, ham in the oven and “The Christmas Song” obstinately playing in the lounge room that just feels so, well, wrong.
There’s a lot to be said for a trip to the beach on Christmas day, but there’s a certain romance in the image of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose as you dig into some serious comfort food.
With that antipodean yearning in mind, may we present: The Chestnut.
This delicious little package (which is actually a fruit) has a unique flavour all it’s own, but you may not have thought to or even dared to incorporate it in your cooking. As winter draws to a close and we prepare for a long summer of endless barbecues and picnics (I know, I know, tortuous), why not try grabbing a chestnut or two and give them a try?
Chestnuts aren’t quite your regular nut. Slightly softer and eaten cooked, they have a sweet, nutty flavour that is subtle but still strong enough. The meat of the chestnut is contained inside two layers of wrapping (See? Feels like Christmas already), so the first step is to get to the good stuff. Cutting chestnuts in half and dropping them in boiling water for a few minutes will ensure you can easily remove the inner skins around the nuts. When you removed the outer layers, you can start working some kitchen magic!
My favourite way to enjoy chestnuts has got to be in a warming soup. Check out this cracker of a recipe for a chestnut, pancetta and cabbage soup from the brilliant Neil Perry. Will you be trying it at home?
How do you like to enjoy chestnuts? Let us know in the comments below!