Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chestnuts Roasting

This was my first experience roasting chestnuts. I'd had them freshly-roasted from a street vendor in London and they were the perfect antidote to the cold and damp. Now that they're in season, I thought I'd give them a try at home.

When it came to making them myself, I had been put off by the thought of slicing a cross onto a round surface and expected to come out of this a few digits short. In practice, however, the chestnut skins are very easy to poke and there was only one near-miss where I'd probably have sliced myself had I been using a sharper knife.

After slicing the skins, I spread them on a cast-iron griddle in the 350 degree oven, then went to the living room and waited to hear the supposed popping noises to indicate they were done. About a half hour went by and, hearing nothing, I went in to check on them and found them already popped. I peeled them, burned my mouth tasting them (I spend much of life with my mouth and fingers blistered from over-eager tasting), and stored them in the refrigerator. I was very surprised at how sweet they are. The flavor actually reminds me of red bean paste. Strange?

These chestnuts ended up in fried rice with seasoned ground beef (soy sauce, sesame oil, Muscovado, Korean chili powder, green onions), carrots and broccoli.

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