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The best way to enjoy Chestnuts

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Last Updated: 14/10/2015  
Author: Melanie Hollidge    Tags: The Best Way To Enjoy Chestnuts

This is the best time of year to go foraging for Chestnuts because they are abundant in our woodlands and parks in and around South West London. Chestnuts are very shiny brown nuts, which are encased in an outer cone with sharp, needle-like burrs. The best way to remove the nuts is to gently roll them underfoot; this ensures that they pop out without having to touch any nasty prickles.

One of the best ways to enjoy Chestnuts is by baking them, either in a conventional oven or on an open fire. First of all score the Chestnut with a knife to stop them from bursting then either cook them on a tray in the oven or place them in a pan with holes, once these are cooked remove from the outer shells and serve with some salted butter – delicious.

The easiest ways to peel a Chestnut is by piecing its skin, put in a bowl of water and then pop them in the microwave for around 1 minute – this will do about four at a time, then remove and the outer skin comes off really easily, a really handy tip if you are looking at producing a recipe with them.

One of our favourite recipes using this lovely seasonal fair is for Chestnut Bourginon, a tasty alternative to the traditional recipe which uses beef.  Here is one we found on the BBC Good Food website:

You will need:

125g/4oz dried chestnuts, soaked for 6-8 hours

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 tsp/5ml dried rosemary

210ml/7fl oz vegetarian red wine

300ml/10fl oz vegetable stock or water

25g/1oz butter or soya margarine

8 small pickling onions or shallots, peeled

125g/4oz chestnut mushrooms, wiped

125g/4oz button mushrooms, wiped

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2-3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

freshly ground black pepper

fresh parsley, finely chopped

225g/8oz vegetarian puff pastry, thawed if frozen

For the method please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chestnutbourgignonpi_3042