Celebrate with Chestnuts this Festive Season
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping on your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by a choir, and folks dressed up like Eskimos.”
Any time I hear this merry little tune it makes me think of the wonderful aroma given off by the chestnuts roasting the oven in our kitchen.
Brown like a dull mahogany wood, the chestnut is a stand out fruit, especially at this time of year. Most often thought of at Christmas time, they can be found at any good vegetable market from mid-late October.
Always buy more than you will require, as no matter how good your supplier is or how thoroughly the supermarket rifle through them, you will always find the odd mouldy or rotten one.
Chestnuts can easily be eaten raw although can often be somewhat astringent, more so if the thin membrane encasing the nut is not removed.
The best way for chestnuts to be eaten in my opinion is roasted, roasted in their shell, peeled then roasted again to achieve that nutty, sweet flavour with a little crunch on the outside and soft fluffy texture inside. Chopped up and served with some nice baby potatoes, some lovely lardons of streaky bacon, baked breast of guinea fowl, and lashings of gravy.
Chestnuts don’t have to be served only as a savoury option, quite the opposite actually, they lend themselves wonderfully to desserts also. Like a chestnut and coco parfait, or caramelised chestnuts atop a warm Christmas pudding with brandy butter mmmm…
So get out there and pick up some of those fantastic chestnuts and see what you can make, or come along to Knockderry Country House Hotel and taste our marvellous chestnuts.