This is a public service announcement. It’s chestnut season and the markets are full of those tempting shiny little brown cuties.
Now if you do what I did and google “how to roast chestnuts”, every single webpage will tell you to use a “small sharp serrated knife” and “carefully cut an X incision on the rounded side of the chestnut.” to prevent the little suckers from exploding in the heat.
This is utter bollocks! After 15 minutes of ungainly and dangerous sawing, I assure you that using a sharp serrated knife to make said incision will actually result in a one-way ticket to the ER and you never ever being able to listen to that bloody “chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” song again without cussing like Azealia Banks on crack.
Instead, get out a big cleaver, like a Chinese chopper if you have one of those. Carefully put the chestnuts flat side down on a chopping board and fold your non-dominant arm behind your back so that you don’t chop it off. Now give each chestnut baby a judicious thwack with the sharp edge of the cleaver. I say judicious so you don’t end up splitting the whole chestnut apart. Don’t channel Hitchcock’s Psycho or you’ll end up with a pulverised mess.
Now put the whole bunch of split chestnuts either a cast iron skillet on the hot coals of your fireplace for 20 mins or so or roast in your oven at 200 degrees C.
Mmm, there’s nothing like the smell of those roasting chestnuts. Peel them while they’re hot with your unmaimed hands complete with opposable thumbs and enjoy!