Yesterday we bundled up and headed up to Apple Hill for some good old fashioned apple picking. My husband grew up here and went with his family so a little piece of his childhood is wrapped up in the whole experience so I indulge him and suggest going as much as possible this time of year. I love seeing him get so excited and revisit all his childhood memories each time we go. It was pouring rain yesterday so I also selfishly wanted to break in my new Hunter boots ( which I did and it was a fashion success)!
Since it was so cold and wet outside we stayed in the warmish store area and I perused the aisles as the hubs mulled over ten different varieties of apples and which to buy. I came accross a basket of chestnuts and instantly I was transported back to the blistering cold Christmas I spent in Hamburg, Germany. One of my favorite things about Germany was the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas Market in the center of the city. Walking around in the freezing evening air the only way to warm up was holding warm chestnuts in gloved hands and downing as many cups of gluhwein (spiced mulled wine) as possible. You know I mastered the art of drinking gluhwein and brought that skill home with me. Only I never did figure out how to recreate the roasted chestnuts I experienced.
Here in California we don't have Christmas Markets or roasted chestnuts so I looked around for how to do it at home and found a pretty easy oven method I wanted to share. If you stick around for a while I just might share with you my homemade gluhwein recipe only for now try this chestnut recpe from Kyle's Italian Food Blog.
Preheat your oven to 425 F (210 C). Take your chestnuts and make a cut across the round side of each to keep them from exploding, and arrange them either on a rack or on a cookie sheet. Roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened (exactly how long will depend upon the chestnuts, but at least 15-20 minutes). Remove the nuts from the oven, make a mound of them in an old towel, wrap them up, squeeze them hard -- they should crackle -- and let them sit for a few minutes.
Peel the skins off and enjoy!