The holidays are in full swing with Hanukkah and Christmas rituals and traditions galore. Office and company parties are scheduled in my circle – good times ahead.
There are a few food traditions I like to enjoy every year, the foremost is roasted chestnuts especially the ones roasted over an open fire.
There is a good reason why the famous holiday song by Bing Crosby is so popular…chestnuts roasting on an open fire ♪♫..la la la …..and indeed it’s one of those rituals I find myself drawn to every year. I’m already looking forward to eating roasted chestnuts from one of the carts on the corner of the street in the heart of New York in combination with the pilgrimage to Rockefeller center to see the Christmas tree – for sure a joyous holiday stroll.
Another highlight I’m looking forward to is mulled apple cider, particularly the spiked version during the upcoming holiday gift-shopping spree, especially cheerful in freezing-cold winter temperatures.
In the past years, I have been staring at candied apples but actually never tried one. I’ll make it a focal point at one of the family weekends this season. My intent is to find a special place that prepares these apples really lip smackingly delicious. A candied apple seems to be a holiday joy and a good candy-compromise - getting a dose of vitamins under a crunchy sweet coat of red candy. A fun way to eat your a day!
You might not make it to Rockefeller center to enjoy roasted chestnuts so below is a recipe for roasted chestnuts which should bring the holiday spirit right into your house.
Selecting: Look for an unwrinkled and glossy brown chestnut surface. Fresh chestnuts will feel heavy for their size. Calculate 8 ounces of raw chestnuts per person.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- With a serrated bread knife, make a 1-inch cut on the curved side of each chestnut – the cut should be deep enough to see the white chestnut beneath the shell.
- Distribute the chestnuts in one layer over a cookie sheet pan or skillet and roast for 30 minutes or until the shell starts to peel off at the knife cut. Shake the pan every ten minutes to turn them over so they won’t burn.
- Line a bowl with a wet kitchen towel and allow the towel to hang over the edges of the bowl. Put the hot chestnuts into the bowl and cover them with the overlapping towel.
- After 10 minutes resting time, or when they’re cool enough to handle, peel the chestnuts out of their shell and skin, and enjoy.
Chef’s Note: Peel the roasted chestnuts while they’re warm, otherwise they’ll be hard to peel.
Chef’s Tip: If you’re into roasted chestnuts it may be worthwhile to invest into a specialized chestnut knife. Take a look and click here