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chestnuts ....how to handle

 
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:44 pm    Post subject: chestnuts ....how to handle Reply with quote

We don't see chestnuts too much around here, nor do people seem to do much with them. Had a wonderful sweet chestnut pudding like dessert in Paris that I would love to duplicate. It may be best to start with some sort of canned chestnut item (even these are scarce here). I practiced with a few, making an X on the flat side and boiling a bit....they are still very hard to peel. The roasted ones smelled soooo good on the streets of Paris.....I would love to try at home....hopefully u don't need that special pan I've seen suggested.
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wasabi



Joined: 29 Nov 2004
Posts: 32
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 4:12 pm    Post subject: Re: chestnuts ....how to handle Reply with quote

I've found that roasting and peeling the chestnuts yourself do in fact yield the best flavor but also the most stress, so i completely sympathize. although canned chestnuts are an option (rinse them REALLY well and even then I'm inclined to heat them up in a pan with clean water for a few seconds to get rid of any metallic aftertaste) there is an excellent product out there you should seek out -- Sierra Rica organic spanish chestnuts. these are vaccuum packed cooked and peeled chestnuts that are ready to use and have the best flavor. i've made several cakes out of them (chestnuts cheesecake for thanksgiving!) and they are also brilliant with brussel sprouts and bacon. you may be able to find the chestnuts on line. if you can't, i'll see if i can have a friend from seattle send some along to you (i think the US vendor is based out of there).
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hee hee, I do know one way NOT to prepare your chestnuts The first time we holidayed in Provence we had a house in the hilltop village of Viens, just north of Apt. The kitchen had a microwave. My genius best friend for the past 37 years who just a few weeks ago received his doctorate in Geophysics decided he wanted to cook some chestnuts. So dear Brian found a chestnut tree just outside the village and gathered a bag of chestnuts which he popped directly into the microwave. Within about 2 minutes minor explosions were going off at a rapid pace within the microwave. Each one exploded into hundreds of crusty little bits and stuck to all surfaces within. Ah Brian, a genius at geophysics, but keep him out of the kitchen!!
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E.



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 9
Location: Chicago, IL, USA, by way of California

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Melinda, if you can't find the chestnuts wasabi recommended, Trader Joe's also has peeled and steamed chestnuts in a jar. I love chesnuts but hate preparing them, so I was very happy when I found these chestnuts just in time for Thanksgiving. This might be a seasonal item, since I have never seen it before at Trader Joe's.

And, David: heh.


Last edited by E. on Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 7:48 pm    Post subject: nuts Reply with quote

David...HAHAHAHA....like popcorn....i can picture it....
and E. .. sadly, no Trader Joe's here

would love a recipe for the pudding like dessert tho
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The book "Under the Tuscan Sun" has a few recipes that are spectacular, one of which is chestnuts in red wine. If I am in a rush I will use chestnuts from a jar, but I prefer them fresh.
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Samantha



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 16
Location: CT, USA (right outside of NYC)

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:49 pm    Post subject: Marron glaces? Reply with quote

Ah, I also have a jar of the Trader Joe's chestnuts and have been meaning to use them. Does anyone have a recipe for marron glaces?

Also, had dinner over the weekend at Olives in Boston, and we had a chestnut agnolotti. Basically, little ravioli with a chestnut and mascarpone filling. So delicious... a little bit sweet... served with a light and creamy spinach sauce... little bits of sliced and fried chestnuts.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My entire experience of chestnuts is limited to the vendors who roast them on the streets in NYC (hate that smell!), a horribly botched attempt to roasts some myself in a fireplace and a taste of cloyingly sweet marrons glac├ęs that left me cold.

It's been a long time. Probably more than 20 years since I've tried any. What I remember is too starchy, too sweet and little in the way of actual flavor.

I'd love it if someone would explain what I'm missing and what I might try to change my mind about them.
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Sierra Rica - Alastair



Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Sierra de Aracena (near Seville), Spain

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 8:20 pm    Post subject: Chestnuts - are you getting enough? Reply with quote

Just joined Chocolate & Zucchini after finding a brief chestnut exchange in the days following Thanksgiving.

Anyobody interested in exploring the culinary potential of the noble chestnut should visit my website - www.sierrarica.com - where there is a developing treasure chest of chestnut recipes. And, if any of you have a favourite chestnut recipe you'd like to add, I'd love to hear from you.
"Wasabi" kindly said how superior Sierra Rica's peeled chestnuts in vacuum-packs were to others he had tried, but I think these are only available in Dean and DeLuca at the moment.
You might also try looking for Sierra Rica's peeled chestnuts in jars in Wholefoods Market and also under the Trader Joe's label in their excellent stores.
Let me know what you think.
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Samantha



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 16
Location: CT, USA (right outside of NYC)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, now I can't wait to try my Trader Joe's chestnuts. Alastair, would you happen to have a recipe for candied chestnuts?
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Sierra Rica - Alastair



Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Sierra de Aracena (near Seville), Spain

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 11:21 pm    Post subject: Candied Chestnuts Reply with quote

Sierra Rica makes small quantities of this corrupting delicacy but, sadly, none of it is bound for the US - yet.
A proper candied chestnut is really the result of making Marrons Glaces , but omitting the final stage of glazing. So take a look at a couple of recipes picked off the internet to give you an idea of the slow, painstaking pleasure of making these beauties.
http://www.chestnutleaf.com/castagne_candite.htm
http://associate.com/recipes/M/71847.shtml
To save the finger-nail breaking task of peeling the chestnuts (sadly TJ's / Sierra Rica's peeled chestnuts in jars won't do for this one because they're already cooked) you can make do with frozen peeled chestnuts. I think TJ's do an Italian one.
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Samantha



Joined: 22 Nov 2004
Posts: 16
Location: CT, USA (right outside of NYC)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Alastair, I appreciate it! I am actually going to be in London and Paris next week (leaving tonight... hope I packed everything), so I'll keep an eye out for your products there. Smile
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lou_31



Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Posts: 2
Location: Palo Alto, CA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last time I roasted chestnuts I followed the Bon Appetit advice and put a cross in each one, near the pointed end, then put them all in a roasting tin with a splash of water and roasted at 400F (200C) for about half an hour. When they come out, wrap all the nuts in a towel for 5 minutes, then take a couple out at a time to peel them.

I have to say, they were a pain in the neck to peel - some were easy and some just came out in lots of bits - I cut my thumb three times. But they did smell good. I made Nigella's Chestnut and Lentil soup from them (from Nigella Bites). It was very good, even though I didn't blend it.
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