Recently on a cold blistering night, cracking open sweet and aromatic maple butter roasted chestnuts while sipping on an 18-year bourbon was the perfect thing to do while reminiscing about this crazy-full year. When you look back on it, a year can really fly by fast. In the span of 365 days, we’ve had a sweet kindergartener turn into a rock climbing/Taylor Swift loving maniac of a first grader, completed an epic family camping trip across three states complete with flying beetles the size of cars, rafted the Colorado River, became dreaded soccer parents, battled our first and hopefully only case of head lice without burning down the house (you should have seen the do-rags we had to wear), saw a few concerts, built an indoor rock climbing wall in our house, and survived many epic dinner parties (including our soon to become annual Christmas Night Weenie Roast – because apparently Christmas is not complete without hot dog buns). Not to mention I’ve had one of the busiest years at MBS Recipe Development, traveled quite a bit for work and the blog – including a visit to the famous Tabasco Co. on Avery Island, landed a cookbook deal, and transformed this little old blog from it’s founding name, In Sock Monkey Slippers to Steele House Kitchen — you did notice, right? Compared to the past couple of years, this one has been calm but it certainly hasn’t been boring.
Steele House Kitchen
Speaking of SHK, yes, it was time for a change. For those who haven’t been keeping up or that are new here, I felt after years of wearing sock monkey slippers it was time to evolve or grow up, so to speak. In Sock Monkey Slippers was a name to bring light to the sometimes serious situation of raising and cooking for a little girl born 16 weeks early with necrotizing enterocolitis. Now, that years have passed and that 1-pound girl is a smart and healthy first grader that no longer needs her mom 24 hours a day and her mom has gone back to work full time, it seemed fitting that the blog needed a face lift to better fit my evolving life. All recipes and posts from the past are still here and any social media links and bookmarks will redirect to the new address, steelehousekitchen.com. I insanely appreciate all who have read and cooked these recipes for the past 7 years and I look forward to many more years to come!
Maple Butter Roasted Chestnuts
On to these amazing bites of awesomeness. Chestnuts are a winter specialty. Savory and buttery, they are perfect to roast and snack on during those cold nights. We only get them for a few short weeks here in Texas and when they do arrive we immediately dive in. One of my favorite recipes for roasted chestnuts are Dan Roman’s Buttery Roasted Chestnuts in Foil from Bon Appétit Magazine. I’ve used it for years with great success but this year thought a nice twist would be to add a touch of maple syrup and black pepper to the mix for a touch of sweetness that pairs so well with these beauties.
The result was a little too good as I ate much more than I should have, drank more than I should have, and had a nice little headache the next day. That’s the holiday season for you but it was completely worth it.
In my opinion, toasty buttery chestnuts bathed in sweet maple and creamy butter with a pinch of flaked sea salt just might be the ultimate way to end the year on. Cheers!
A winter classic, these lightly sweet, toasty, and savory Maple Buttter Roasted Chestnuts are the perfect treat on a cold day.
- 2 pounds fresh unshelled chestnuts
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Flaked sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet or a large cast iron skillet. With a sharp knife, carefully cut through the shell to the nut along the diameter of the chestnut. After roasting, this will make it so you can easily remove half of the shell to get to the chestnut. If you find this process too difficult, you can alternatively score an "X" on the rounded side of the chestnut. Soak the chestnuts in a bowl of hot water for 1 minute. Drain, pat dry, and transfer to a large bowl.
- To the chestnuts, add butter, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and transfer to the baking sheet. Arrange chestnuts in a single layer and gather foil around the chestnuts (it's ok if some overlap), leaving a large opening at the top.
- Roast for 35 to 45 minutes or until the shell starts to separate and peel away from the chestnut. Time will vary depending on size. Transfer to a serving platter with any remaining butter and finish with a sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately.
by Meredith Steele