Chestnuts

CHESTNUTS — From the COOKS.COM Culinary Archive.

Introduction

  The chestnut (Castanea spp., Fagaceae) is said to have originally come from Lydia, an ancient kingdom in Asia Minor.  It has been used for food since those times.  The chestnut tree is related to the oak and can live for up to 500 years. It is the least oily of all the nuts, and the easiest of digestion.  It contains 15 per cent of sugar, and a large proportion of starch.  They can be preserved so as to keep good for years.  Chestnuts are usually roasted, boiled, or ground into a flour that is used to make bread, cakes, and cookies.

  Chestnuts are enclosed in a prickly case, most of which hold three seperate small, smooth nuts.  Each chestnut contains a wrinkled cream-colored kernel that is covered by a thin brown skin.  The nut is protected by a hard, inedible reddish brown membrane known as the pericarp.  Improved cultivated varieties of the chestnut tree produce a single large nut, which is fleshier and more flavorful.   The French refer to these larger chestnuts, which are better for cooking, as marrons and to ordinary chestnuts as chätaignes.

  The tree called horse-chestnut is altogether different and its fruit is not suitable to eat.

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Table of Contents

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CHESTNUTS, BAKED

Remove shells from one pint chestnuts, put in a baking-dish, cover with Chicken Stock highly seasoned with salt and cayenne, and bake until soft, keeping covered until nearly done.  There should be a small quantity of stock in pan to serve with chestnuts.


CHESTNUTS, BOILED

  Remove the shells and cook in boiling water for ten minutes.  Skim them out, and the brown skin should come off easily.  They can again be placed in the boiling water and cooked until tender when pierced with a fork or skewer; they can then be served whole or mashed.  They are seasoned with butter, salt, pepper, and cream if desired.  They are also added to stuffing for chicken, turkey and veal.


CHESTNUTS, ROASTED (I)

  Wash the chestnuts, make a slit in the side of each one; boil 10 minutes in water enough to cover them; then drain and bake in a dripping pan for 10 minutes in a hot oven. Serve hot with salt.


CHESTNUTS, ROASTED (II)

  Remove shells from one pint chestnuts, put in a baking dish, cover with Chicken Stock highly seasoned with salt and cayenne, and bake until soft, keeping covered until nearly done.  There should be a small quantity of stock in pan to serve with chestnuts.


CHESTNUTS, SHELLED (I)

  Put a teaspoon of butter into a frying pan, and when melted turn in two or three cups of chestnuts which have been cross-cut on the flat side.  Shake the pan to butter the chestnuts, and place in the oven for five minutes.  When taken out from the shell and brown skin should be easily removed.  Use a small vegetable-knife to prepare them.


CHESTNUTS, SHELLED (II)

Cut a half-inch gash on flat sides and put in an omelet pan, allowing one-half teaspoon butter to each cup chestnuts.  Shake over range until butter is melted.  Put in oven and let stand five minutes.  Remove from oven, and with a small knife take off shells.  By this method shelling and blanching is accomplished at the same time, as skins adhere to shells.


CHESTNUTS, STEWED

  Remove the shells from one pint of chestnuts, cover with boiling water and let blanch fifteen minutes, then remove the brown skin.  Put them in a saucepan, cover with boiling water, boil fifteen minutes; then add a half-teaspoonful of salt and boil ten minutes longer, or until you can pierce them with a fork.  When done, drain, turn into a heated dish, pour over them Cream Sauce, and serve.


CHESTNUTS WITH BROWN SAUCE

  Remove the shells from one pint of chestnuts, cover them with boiling water and blanch fifteen minutes, then peel off the thin, brown skin.  Put them into a saucepan, cover with boiling stock, and boil thirty minutes, or until you can pierce them with a fork.  When done, drain, and save the stock in which they were boiled.  Put one tablespoonful of butter into a frying pan to brown; when brown, add one tablespoonful of flour, mix until smooth; then add a half-pint of the stock in which the chestnuts were boiled stir continually until it boils, add salt and pepper to taste, pout over the chestnuts, and serve.


CHESTNUTS EN CASSEROLE

Remove shells from three cups chestnuts, put in a casserole dish, and pour over three cups highly seasoned chicken stock.  Cover, and cook in a slow oven three hours; then thicken chicken stock with two tablespoons butter and one and one-half tablespoons flour cooked together.  Send to table in casserole dish.


CREAM OF CHESTNUTS

1 pint chestnuts
1 pint milk or white stock
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg

  Remove the shells from the chestnuts, then cover with boiling water, let them stand five minutes; drain, and cover again with boiling water, and blanch them by removing the thin brown skin.  Cook them in boiling salted water to cover, until very soft.  Mash them with a wooden potato masher, in the water left in the pan, and rub them thorough a fine strainer into the milk or stock and cream.

  Heat again and let it simmer ten minutes, add salt and pepper to taste, add a little sugar if you desire.  Remove from the fire and stir in the beaten egg quickly and serve at once.  If the soup be too thick add more hot milk, and if too thin, before adding the egg let it reduce by longer simmering.  Serve with toasted or fried croutons.


CHESTNUT CROQUETTES

1 cup mashed French chestnuts
Yolks 2 eggs
2 tablespoons thick cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix ingredients in order given.  Shape in balls, dip in crumbs, egg, and crumbs again, fry in deep fat, and drain.


CHESTNUT CUP

  Use one tablespoon of preserved chestnuts cut into slices, with a little of the syrup in bottom of a sherbet glass.  Put in a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream with whipped and flavored cream on top.


CHESTNUT PRESERVES

  Cover blanched chestnuts with boiling water, and simmer slowly until tender; it will take from one and one-half to two hours.  Weigh the nuts before cooking, and make syrup of sugar and water same in weight as nuts.  Cook syrup until thick.  Add nuts and cook for one and one-half hours.  Strain out nuts and reduce syrup.  Place chestnuts in glass jars.  Flavor syrup with vanilla, reduce until very thick, and pour over the nuts.  This makes a very rich preserve, and is used in pudding sauces, pudding, etc.


CHESTNUT PUDDING

  Boil the large Italian or Spanish chestnuts until tender, remove the shells and skins, and rub them through a sieve or put them through a vegetable press. They may be piled in a light, powdery heap in a glass dish, and have a wineglassful of sherry or Marsala poured over them.  Cover them with whipped cream slightly sweetened. This is a delicious dessert, and may easily be made in the United States. Native chestnuts may be used,  but its small size renders the shelling and peeling a tedious task.


CHESTNUT PUDDING, ITALIAN

Boil 1 lb. of the large Italian chestnuts, peel them, and put them through a vegetable press.  Moisten them with two tablespoonfuls of sherry, heap them in a shallow dish, and surround or cover them with whipped cream. Garnish with a circle of whole chestnuts, boiled and peeled.


CHESTNUT PURÉE (I)

1 quart of chestnuts
1 quart of water or stock
1 tablespoonful of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Shell the chestnuts, throw them into boiling water until the skins come off easily; then drain and remove the brown skin.  Put them in a saucepan with the water or stock, and boil gently for a half-hour, or until they will mash easily under pressure.  Then press them through a colander, return them to the saucepan, add the butter, salt and pepper, stir until it boils, and it is ready to serve.


CHESTNUT PURÉE (II)

4 cups White Stock
2 cups scalded milk
2 cups French chestnuts, boiled and mashed
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 slice onion
Salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
Pepper

Cook stock, chestnuts, onion, and celery salt ten minutes; rub through sieve, add milk, and bind.  Season with salt and pepper.


CHESTNUT PURÉE (III)

Remove shells from chestnuts, cook until soft in boiling salted water; drain, mash, moisten with scalded milk, season with salt and pepper, and beat until light.  Chestnuts are often boiled, riced, and piled lightly in center of dish, then surrounded by meat.


CHESTNUT ROULETTES (I)

  Mix together in a basin 1 cup mashed chestnuts, which have been peeled after cooking in boiling salted water, heat into this 1 tablespoon whipped cream, 1/2 tablespoon shortening, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon sherry wine.  Cool and fold in beaten egg, whites, form into small balls, dip in beaten egg, toss in crumbs and fry in hot grease. Drain and serve.


CHESTNUT ROULETTES (II)

1 cup chestnut purée
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Few drops onion juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Few grains paprika

Mix ingredients in order given, cook two minutes, and cool.  Shape a little larger than French chestnuts, dip in crumbs, egg, and crumbs again.  Fry in deep fat, and drain on brown paper.


CHESTNUT SAUCE (for Turkey)

  One pint of shelled chestnuts, one quart of stock, one teaspoonful of lemon juice, one tablespoonful of flour, two of butter, salt, pepper.  Boil the chestnuts in water for about three minutes; then plunge them into cold water, and rub off the dark skins.  Put them on to cook with the stock, and boil gently until they will mash readily (it will take about an hour).  Mash as fine as possible.  Put the butter and flour in a saucepan and cook until a dark brown. Stir into the sauce, and cook two minutes.  Add the seasoning, and rub all through a sieve.  This sauce is for roast turkey.  When to be served with boiled turkey, use only a pint and a half of stock; rub the butter and flour together, and stir into the boiling mixture; rub through the sieve as before; add half a pint of cream to the sauce; return to the fire, boil up once, and serve.  The chestnuts used are twice as large as the native fruit.  All first-class provision dealers and grocers keep them.


CHESTNUT SOUFFLÉ

1/4 cup sugar
1 cup chestnut purée
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
Whites 3 eggs

Mix sugar and flour, add chestnuts and milk gradually; cook five minutes, stirring constantly; beat whites of eggs until stiff, and cut and fold into mixture.  Bake same as Fruit Soufflé; serve with Cream Sauce.


CHESTNUT STUFFING (I)

  Shell and blanch 3 cups chestnuts.  This is accomplished by cutting a gash 1/2 inch long in the flat side of the chestnut, putting in an omelet pan with 1/2 teaspoon butter for each cup of nuts, and heating thoroughly for several minutes, stirring frequently. Then stand in the oven for 5 minutes.  In this way the shell can be easily removed and the inner skin will come off too, thus blanching them at the same time.

  Cook the chestnuts in boiling salted water until soft, then drain and mash.  Add 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 cup cream.  Melt 1/4 cup butter, add 1 cup cracker crumbs, mix well, then add to the chestnut mixture and mix thoroughly.


CHESTNUT STUFFING (II)

3 cups French chestnuts
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cracker crumbs

Shell and blanch chestnuts.  Cook in boiling salted water until soft.  Drain and mash, using a potato ricer.  Add one-half the butter, salt, pepper, and cream.  Melt remaining butter, mix with cracker crumbs, then combine mixtures.



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At last the dinner was all done, the cloth was cleared, the hearth swept and the fire made up. The compound in the jug being tasted, and considered perfect, apples and oranges were put upon the table, and a shovel-full of chestnuts on the fire.
 
  Charles Dickens — A Christmas Carol



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