Friday, January 2, 2009

Lessons in Chestnuts: If It Looks Like A Brain, It's Good

Foodgoat doesn't usually go in much for desserts ... except when it comes to his grandmother's chestnut rum puree. When made into a torte or eaten straight up with a scoop of whipped cream, the chestnut puree is a delicious yet not too sweet treat and a Foodgoat favorite.

We have just heard rumors about the difficulty and labor involved in cooking fresh chestnuts, so when we came upon a technique of cooking chestnuts using a slow cooker, one of Foodgoat's favorite and most used small appliance, and then found piles of fresh chestnuts at the local grocery store, we decided it was time for a new Foodgoat adventure.

First, we picked up about 3 lbs of chestnuts. We introduced them to GoatSpawn, who was not particularly interested.

Next, with a sharp heavy knife, Foodgoat scored the rounded side of each chestnut about halfway through. In they went into the slow cooker, with enough boiling water to cover them. Turn the slow cooker on high for 2.5 to 5 hours, until the skins peel back.

Once done, Foodgoat excitely took a knife and cut a still very hot chestnut in half, peeled the outer shell and inner skin away, and popped the highly anticipated meat into his mouth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a moldy one. A moldy, gross-tasting chestnut.

In fact, many of the chestnuts turned out to be moldy. About 30% of them. At first, we weren't sure what a good or bad chestnut looked like, so Foodgoat was doing a taste test on them all. He soon discovered that a good chestnut looks like a brain, and tastes delicious. A bad chestnut does not, and tastes totally disgusting.

Having never purchased chestnuts before, we weren't sure if that 30% failure rate was par for the chestnut course, or a reflection on the poor produce standards at the grocery store. But either way, it almost wasn't worth it. Almost. Because the fresh chestnut did taste very good.

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  1. I've had about the same failure rate with fresh chestnuts, doesn't matter where I buy them or where they were grown. Disappointing, but the good ones are so delicious!

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