My knowledge of chestnuts was rather limited until my husband and I cooked our first Thanksgiving dinner back in 1995. While many people have fond memories of chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving, my family’s stuffing of choice came out of a box. That changed once Michael and I started celebrating the holiday together.
Every year he’d set about prepping his “kitchen sink stuffing” filled with dried bread cubes, apples, crumbled sausage, celery, carrots and, yes, chopped chestnuts. As time went by, we tweaked the recipe. I taught him how to finely chop the vegetables and properly saute them, so they would almost melt into the stuffing. I began making homemade stock to swap in for the canned kind he used. One year I even managed to convince him to skip the sausage and make a vegetarian version for me. The one ingredient that always stayed in the mix, though, was chestnuts.
Now, I don’t mean to confuse you all talking about Thanksgiving just yet. I haven’t even gotten to work on my daughters’ Halloween costumes, and am in no hurry to rush time along. The real reason chestnuts are on my mind these days is because I found a chestnut tree growing in the backyard of our new house in upstate New York. It reminded me that chestnut season is upon us, and there’s no need to wait until the end of November to enjoy them. One of my favorites is this Homemade Chestnut Spread, my version of a spread sold throughout France. It’s also the main ingredient in these incredibly easy Chestnut Orange Crisps, a brittle cookie made from ordinary sliced white bread.
Here are a few of my favorite chestnut recipes from Food Network:
- Chestnut Soup with Fried Parsley (pictured right)
- Don’t Make These Burger Mistakes (But If You Do, Here’s How to Fix Them)
- How to Master Meat: Chef Tim Love’s Tips and Advice for a Scorching July 4th Cookout
- Summer Cooking (and Eating), Alex Guarnaschelli Style
- The Top Picnic Mistakes to Avoid, and How to Fix Them If They Happen, Plus Boozy Bubbles to Pack in the Basket