GOOD FOOD FOR FREE!
The most famous area in France for chestnuts is the Ardèche but in fact here in rural Normandie sweet chestnut trees border many fields and road sides. In our village in October everyone is out foraging for this wonderful and versatile food. In the past I have used them in savoury pies, sweet puddings, vegetable dishes, stuffing and even made sweet chestnut purée but this year I want to have a try for that Holy Grail of chestnut preparations - marrons glacés.
To do this I need whole chestnuts not the halves and crumbly bits you can easily hide under buttered sprouts or pretend were an intentional part of the rustic looking pâté en croûte or sausage meat farce.
Step 1: Method in Action
When you cook a chestnut the heated kernel gives off steam and it is the steam that will cause the uncut shell to ‘pop’ and distribute its contents wherever. Andy realised the steam should do the work of starting to lift the shell off so he cut the shell with a circumferential incision all around the base of the nut (the base being the flattest face of the nut.).
Initially, he made the cut with a small kitchen knife held very close to the tip,
which was OK but not exactly the best-suited tool for the job. So, knowing that one only needed the tip of the blade to cut through the shell, he pushed the blade of a craft knife through an old wine bottle cork so that the tip of the blade protruded by about 2mm. The tip could then be pushed through the shell and with the nut pressed against the face of the cork, the blade could make the incision with ease.
The film provides a detailed explanation showing us in action roasting and peeling chestnuts and also how to remove any of the remaining thin skin but if you want extra information with identification of edible sweet chestnuts and the none edible horse chestnut kind, plus the written version of the film, visit Simply Organic Recipes
Please feel free to comment and/or ask questions either here or on the blog.
Thanks for dropping by!
Compliments of the Season,
Pavlovafowl aka Sue