Guess what we did today, for the first time ever... we roasted chestnuts in our fire pit! Yes, I know... with the holidays over, it's a bit late to be talking about roasting chestnuts over an open fire. But let me explain... you see, we planned to have a fire and roast chestnuts for Solstice, but Mother Nature did not cooperate (we had torrential downpours all day, which thoroughly soaked all our firewood) We thought about doing it for Christmas, but with all the relatives visiting and the food and the presents, we just didn't quite get to it. After Christmas we were in "Holiday Recovery Mode, so again we forgot about the chestnuts. But finally, today, with the holidays behind us, we took some time to build a fire and roast those chestnuts!
We had been storing the chestnuts in the fridge since Solstice. Chestnuts are quite perishable, so you do need to keep them refrigerated after you buy them. They will keep for several weeks if properly stored, but even then you may find a few with spots of mold (we did!). If that happens, just discard the bad ones, and the rest will be fine to eat. We prepared our chestnuts for roasting by scoring the shells a bit with a paring knife. Some websites suggest cutting an "x" into the flat side, but you don't need to get that fancy. As long as the shell is pierced, you're good.
It was a gorgeous day out, but our yard and patio were still snow-covered. I love having an outside fire when there is snow on the ground! We used our holiday wreath as kindling (the last of our holiday decorations!) and we got a good fire going. When we had a nice bed of coals, we set the cast iron skillet on the fire and poured in the chestnuts. We cooked them for about 15 minutes or so, stirring them till they had little dark spots and the shells were splitting.
We took them off the fire and let them sit a few minutes, until they were cool enough to handle. Then we peeled them and ate them as they were, still warm, chewy and delicious!
We had so much fun with this! Roasting chestnuts will definitely become an annual holiday-time tradition in our family from now on.