“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” may well fill you with nostalgic festive feelings and get you humming to the tune of Nat King Cole’s famous Christmas Song!
At this time of year, chestnuts are in abundance and are delicious roasted or boiled – you can use them in recipes or simply eat on their own! Eating seasonal produce – especially at Christmas – is so underrated and many people don’t know what is in season due to the variety of produce we can get from our supermarkets all year round (imported of course). Eating seasonal foods means that they are at their best; utmost freshness, tastier and are more nutritious. Often seasonal foods are referred to as local foods.
And the great thing is there is no need to feel guilty about snacking on these festive beauties – chestnuts are low in fat compared to other nut favourites such as peanuts!
The good thing too is that nuts do not lose their heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat during the roasting process! Low in fat and cholesterol free, chestnuts are a great source of Vitamin C, and also contain folic acid and dietary fibre. When buying or gathering chestnuts, they should be shiny and dark and not give in to pressure, go for those in their shells that are heavy for their size. A good way to test if a chestnut is past its best is, if you rattle it and it shakes, it means the chestnut is old and should be thrown out.
So to get that true festive feeling, light a fire, gather round to keep warm and get roasting whilst listening to the Christmas Song in the background…
For that extra boost of vegetable goodness, here’s a delicious way to spruce up your brussel sprouts with chestnuts and bacon:
1kg of trimmed Brussels sprouts
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
200g cooked chestnuts (boiled and peeled)
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then tip in 1 ¼ kg trimmed Brussels sprouts. Once back to the boil, cook for 5 mins. Drain, run under the cold tap until cold, then drain again.
- Heat a large frying pan, add 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces, and gently fry for 10 mins until crisp and golden.
- Tip out of the pan, leaving the fat behind, then add 200g chestnuts and fry over a high heat for about 5 mins until tinged. Tip out of the pan.
- Add the brussel sprouts to the pan with a splash of water, then cover and finish cooking over a medium heat for about 5 mins, stirring now and again, until just tender.
- Uncover, turn up the heat, then add most of the 50g butter and sauté the sprouts for 2 mins more.
- Tip in the bacon and chestnuts, season generously with salt and pepper, then serve with the last knob of butter on top.
Fruits and veggies – more matters ®