This method for roasting chestnuts makes the flesh sweet and tender and the nuts easy to peel--perfect for using in recipes or serving as a marvelous winter hors d'oeuvre with drinks. I score the chestnut peel first and soak them in water. The residual water left in the drained chestnuts creates steam in the hot pan, keeping them from drying out and making them easy to peel.
Yields 1 pound peeled chestnuts
• 1 1/2 pounds fresh chestnuts
With a sharp knife, make 2 criss-crossing gashes on the flat side of each chestnut. Place the chestnuts in a large bowl and cover with water by 1-inch. Let soak at least 1/2 hour and up to 1 hour. Drain the chestnuts and pat them dry. Preheat the oven to 400'.
Drain the nuts and arrange them in a roasting pan. Roast uncovered about 15-20 minutes until the shells are brittle and have curled back somewhat. Remove and let cool slightly. When the chestnuts are cool enough to handle, peel off both the hard outer shell and the inner brown skin.
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