Our tips for making chestnuts in two original recipes

Birds, soup, cream…chestnuts are not just reserved for winter dishes! Raphaël Haumont gives us his tips for cooking fried chestnuts and even in salads.

Raphael Hommon

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How to properly cook chestnuts?
How to properly cook chestnuts? —
The Mag of Health – France 5

When we think of chestnuts, we think of poultry, bacon bits, mushrooms and chestnut cream. The chestnuts are then roasted or caramelized and this works well because it contains carbohydrates (almost 40%) and some protein (in the fruit but also in the butter that can be added to the recipe). Exposed to heat, you get Maillard reactions and caramelization reactions.

Caramelized, grilled and roasted notes develop. The molecules formed are similar to those in coffee or chocolate (roasting), to those of grilled meat (still Maillard reactions), and also to old alcohols aged in barrels (rum, whiskey, cognac).

If you appreciate this specific taste, it is because all these dishes are “good chemistry”.

Recipe for fried pears and chestnuts in a pan

Based on these similarities of aromatic molecules, roasted chestnuts can be combined with other products: hazelnuts, truffles, coffee, pears, toasted sesame, bacon, smoked salmon, roasted peanuts… More things to invent.

Original recipe idea: Fried pears and chestnuts with coffee.
· Fry some chestnuts in a little fat and add diced pears.
· When the pears have browned, deglaze by adding coffee
· Sprinkle with crushed peanuts just before serving.
· Enjoy with fish fillet or poultry.

The accords of roasted chestnut-coffee-pear-peanut are juicy. And good news: by cooking half chestnuts, half pears, you cut calories by almost half compared to a chestnut dish.

Chestnuts… in a salad

The second flavor profile for chestnuts is less well known than roasted or roasted chestnuts. It is a chestnut, freshly stewed or in a light broth.

Chestnuts contain hexan-1-ol, a molecule responsible for the freshness, “greenness” of a green apple, blackcurrant, currant, tarragon or even kiwi.

Therefore, it is a very good taste idea to associate the chestnut, for example in a salad, finely chopped or even crushed like bulgur, with “green” notes: celery, grapefruit, fennel or green apples. Add aromatic herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and sesame seeds for salads that really make a difference.

Chestnuts are worth it because it’s still a bit tedious to peel them. Some recommend “thermal shock” which consists of freezing them and then placing them in the boiling pan.

Hot peeling is not pleasant, it is better to put them in a towel to avoid burning fingers.

Roasting whole chestnuts in a microwave oven can cause them to explode. Not recommended, otherwise the skin must be cut.

A pressure cooker is fine because it builds up pressure. At high temperature and pressure, the “large” surface fibers that make up the skin are easily broken down.

Otherwise, adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the cooking water may be the answer, because the baking soda also works on the fibers to soften the texture. Works for lentils, chickpeas, dried beans… and chestnuts.

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