Have you ever tried roasting and peeling your own chestnuts? Well, an unfortunate experience with a batch of chestnut stuffing a few years back taught us that it's a Royal Pain. That said, we just heard this clever chestnut-peeling tip from Melissa Clark that might make it worth giving it another go.
Melissa Clark's family makes chestnut stuffing every year for Thanksgiving. (Unlike me, apparently they didn't give up after the first time!) Somewhere between the first batch and now, they landed on a shortcut for getting those chestnuts peeled.
First, Clark says to score the bottoms of each chestnut. This cuts through the outer skin and prevents the nuts from exploding as they heat. Then put just a handful of them, six or eight at a time, into the microwave for one to two minutes on high power.
The reason for those small batches is that chestnuts are much easier to peel if they're still warm. If you microwave, or oven-roast, the entire bag of chestnuts, the ones at the end are cold and difficult to peel by the time you get to them.
Brilliant, right?! This tip came in the middle of a great interview with Melissa Clark on The Splendid Table radioshow. You can hear the whole story, plus get her family's chestnut stuffing recipe, on The Splendid Table website.
• Thanksgiving Stuffing with Melissa Clark on The Splendid Table (November 20, 2010)
Do you have a favorite chestnut recipe?