Everyone knows the song “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” But seriously, WTF are chestnuts and who roasts anything over an open fire anymore? (Smores are the exception) Chestnuts used to be a classic symbol of Christmas but are now overshadowed by other favorites: candy canes and eggnog. This year Starbucks tried to resurrect the aged food by adding it to their red cup lineup. Sadly, I don’t think people are flocking to their local Trader Joes to add chestnuts to their holiday spread.
But first things first, what are they? Chestnuts are a glossy brown nut that grows inside a prickly shell on a tree. When raw they are the texture of a potato but when boiled, steamed, or roasted the inside becomes soft. Chestnuts have a mild sweet flavor. Obviously they pair well with pralines.
Besides roasting them how else can a chestnut be used? Apparently they work well with brussel sprouts and chocolate (what doesn’t). They can be pureed and used in place of mashed potatoes or as the base for stuffing. Chestnut flour can be used for cakes, pancakes, and bread. They are also gluten free! Who knew these nuts were so versatile!
I’m not saying I’ll be making chestnut pancakes anytime soon but it’s nice to know there are other ways to incorporate this yuletide favorite. What are some traditional holiday foods that leave you wondering why? Comment below!