Roasted Chestnuts in Red Wine

When researching chestnuts I found out that in 1905, during the Great Depression, a foreign fungus wiped out the American chestnut trees. Breeders have been trying to bring the species back ever since. My friend Warren “Bo” Bober has four trees in his back yard that he planted 30 years ago. Rufin Van Bossuyt, of Harwich, has also has an interest in cultivating them. Since I created this dish ahead of chestnut season, I used dried chestnuts from Allen Creek Farm Washington State. They also ship fresh chestnuts in the fall. Order online at www.chestnutsonline.com/order.
September 13, 2016

Preparation

  1. With a sharp knife cut an X in the flat side of each chestnut. Place nuts in a shallow baking pan and roast, uncovered, in a 450° oven for 10 minutes. (To roast in a fireplace, place in a large heavy skillet or chestnut pan. Roast for 10-15 minutes shaking pan occasionally until shells curl back and chestnuts are hot through.)
  2. Cool slightly and peel. To serve, half fill 6 goblets with wine. Drop peeled chestnuts in the wine glass. Let sit for a minute and eat.
  3. Serve this old-world dessert as soon as the roasted chestnuts are cool enough to peel. You might find it convenient to roast and peel the chestnuts ahead, then wrap the nuts in foil and reheat in a 300° oven for 10 minutes.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh chestnuts
  • 1 dry red wine such as Zinfandel, Burgundy or Chianti
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