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Ask the AJ's Expert

At AJ's Fine Foods you'll find we are more than the products and delicacies in our aisles. The critical component of the AJ's experience lies in the spirit and expertise of our team members. Here you'll find your opportunity to ask questions and have our culinary experts share their knowledge with you.

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This Week's Question:
I'm intrigued by Chestnuts, I see them mentioned quite a bit this time of year, but what are they used for other than roasting?

AJ's Expert Answer:
Chestnuts arenít just for Holiday recipes. The simplest of all uses is to enjoy them raw. Just peel off the outer shell plus the bitter inner skin and dig in. They have a subtly sweet flavor and crunch reminiscent of other nuts. If you have trouble peeling them, cut off the tips and boil for 1 minute: peel while still warm.

The best ways to cook chestnuts are roasting and boiling. Before doing either, cut a shallow X in the flat side of each shell so the chestnuts won't explode as they cook. (Or cut about ¼ inch off the tip end of each)

  1. Roast: Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the shells start to split and the nuts smell fragrant.
  2. Boil: Place in a saucepan; cover with water, and boil 20 minutes or until tender (test one before draining the rest).

Then, try some of these delicious uses for your cooked chestnuts:

  1. Top a baked or microwaved butternut squash with chopped chestnuts and a little brown sugar.
  2. Chop a few chestnuts and add to chicken noodle soup.
  3. Combine whole chestnuts, steamed brussels sprouts, and 2 or 3 Tbsp chicken broth in a skillet. Bring to a boil; cover; cook 5 minutes.
  4. Stir chopped chestnuts into your favorite stuffing. Chestnuts complement an apple-and-turkey-sausage stuffing especially well.
  5. Chop chestnuts and use them in cookie batter in place of high-fat peanuts or macadamias.
  6. Sprinkle chopped pieces over ice cream or apple pie for a tasty dessert.