? “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.” ?
First introduced by the Romans, roast chestnuts are a seasonal classic, even making their way into well-known Christmas songs. So, to celebrate the start of Advent and the countdown to the festive season I decided to see what all the fuss is about.
You’ll find the best crops at the foot of established sweet chestnut trees from October into early winter. The nuts can be baked, roasted or boiled. Once cooked and peeled they can be eaten as they are or used in deserts and stuffings. You can also candy them, puree them or store them in syrup.
A fun activity for all the family, roasting chestnuts over an open fire (as the song has it) is a fantastic festive pursuit that even Scrooge himself would enjoy.
To roast the chestnuts perfectly, score each nut to ensure they don’t burst before placing them on a grill over the glowing embers of a fire. Never put chestnuts directly over an open flame.
The optimum roasting time is six minutes during which you should constantly turn the nuts to ensure they don’t burn. Once cooked, peel them and remove any of the hairs.
While you can enjoy your roasted chestnuts straight from the embers as a festive delicacy, I decided to use them in a classic dish of guinea fowl breast stuffed with chestnuts. If you’re looking for something a little different to cheer up the shorter days of winter, why not give this recipe a go?
- 200g roasted chestnuts
- 4 guinea fowl breasts
- Butter to fry the stuffed guinea fowl breast
- Preheat your oven to 160°c.
- Roast the chestnuts before cutting into very small pieces once cooked.
- Create a pocket in each guinea fowl breast. Fill each pocket with 50g of chestnuts before closing. Secure with string.
- Put the stuffed breast in a pan with butter and brown on both sides. Transfer the guinea fowl to your oven and cook for 12 minutes.
- Serve while hot.