Cut an “X” on the chestnut. Take care to cut all the way through the shell; this keeps the shell from bursting when cooked.
We have two recommended ways to cut the X:
1) Place the chestnuts on the cutting board with the flat side facing up. Use a serrated knife to slice through the shell and into the flesh slightly.
2) Place the chestnuts flat side down on the cutting board. Using the tip of a paring knife, pierce the chestnut, and then bring the blade down slightly, cutting into more of the chestnut shell. By placing them flat side down, the chestnuts won’t rock while cutting them, but they may slide on the cutting surface; so pinch the chestnut between your fingers while piercing it.
One pound unpeeled chestnuts yields about 3 cups of nut meat.
–Fireplace – Use a long-handled chestnut roasting pan or a fireplace popcorn basket. Allow enough room for the chestnuts to roast on all sides. Hold the pan just above the flame, and shake as if you were making popcorn. Cook about 15 minutes or until the outside shells are black. Remove nuts from pan, and allow to cool before peeling.
–Oven – Place nuts in a single layer in an ovenproof baking dish. Bake at 325° for about 20 minutes. Remove nuts from pan, and allow to cool before peeling.
–Stovetop – Place nuts in a single layer in a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron). Cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, for 15 minutes or until shells darken. Remove nuts from pan, and cool before peeling.
-Combine chestnuts and lightly salted water to cover in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Drain immediately, and allow to cool before peeling.
-Place chestnuts around the outer edge of a paper plate, and cook at HIGH in 15-second intervals until shells are soft. Cool before peeling.