“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose” Jack Frost has certainly been nipping at our noses here Montana, actually, I think he’s been biting our noses off. Our grounds are snow covered and in the last week we’ve had temperatures as low as 7°F.
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” when I hear that song, it elicits visions of comfort and warmth, a nostalgia over takes me. I have never roasted chestnuts over an open fire, nor have I ever roasted chestnuts period. I have felt like I was missing out on something important. this year, I didn’t want to just elicit that nostalgic feeling I wanted to experience it for real.
“Chestnut roasting in a closed oven” (no open fire here)…. I discovered that indeed, I was missing out. Missing out on peeling the little buggers, talk about difficult. I followed some instruction I found on the internet…”make an ‘X’ on the nut, roast at 425°F for 15 to 25 minutes, when cool enough to handle peel immediately”.
Not sure where I went wrong, the chestnuts were definitely done. Did I not score a deep enough ‘X’? Were they roasted incorrectly? I think both. After further research I discovered that there should be a little char on the nuts (which I did not have) and the outer covering should curl back making them fairly easy to peel. I believe a deeper ‘X’ and better roasting would have made a difference.
Let’s just say they ended up being a labor of love. I love my Baby boy and I let him do all the labor!
If you’ve never had a chestnut, you are in for a treat. Chestnuts do not taste nutty as their name would lead you to believe. Rather, they have a more starchy texture with a slightly sweet taste. I can see why chestnuts are often paired with sausage in stuffing. The spicy/sweet combo is a great pairing.
Would I do this again? Yes, yes I would. But first I will have to work on the roasting/peeling part, maybe I’ll even try it on an open fire, if Jack Frost doesn’t bite my nose off.
- 1 package seasoned stuffing cubes (I used Pepperidge Farm)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 pound venison sausage (or any other bulk sausage of your choice)
- 1 pound chestnuts, roasted, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups turkey stock
- Zest of one orange
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter, sliced into pats
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, brown the sausage. Use a wooden spoon to break sausage up into pieces. Remove meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoon of fat from the pan, sauté the onion and celery until the onion is translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil, remove from heat.
- Put stuffing cubes in a very large bowl. Add sausage, chopped chestnuts and orange zest. Pour stock/onion/celery mixture over the stuffing, mix gently. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Transfer the stuffing to a greased two quart casserole. Top with pats of butter. Bake for 30 minutes.
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