Sweet Roasted Chestnuts with Vanilla and Fennel

By • November 4, 2016 1 Comments

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Author Notes: Spoon these chestnuts—roasted with similarly earthy-sweet fennel seeds—over ice cream or oatmeal or (my favorite) tangy yogurt. They're melty, rich, a little chewy, and the buttery, chestnutty sauce is the best part. Roast them in a parchment paper bag and not only do you have approximately zero things to clean up, but it's also super easy to collect the syrup they roast in.

Also: Jarred chestnuts are great! No need to roast and peel your own, though you're certainly more than welcome to. Just make sure to get ones that are packed in water (or are vacuum-packed) rather than in syrup.
Caroline Lange

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Makes a scant 2 cups' worth

  • 1 14.8-oz. jar roasted, peeled chestnuts (or about 1 pound chestnuts you've roasted and peeled yourself)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F and prepare a baking sheet with a parchment roasting bag (or make a big envelope out of parchment paper).
  2. If your chestnuts come packed in water, drain and rinse them. Transfer them to a cutting board and give them a very rough chop—really, just break them up. Add them to the bag.
  3. Add the butter, maple syrup, fennel seeds, vanilla bean seeds (I like to include the bean itself, too—it's pretty, and holds vanilla flavor itself), salt, and water to the bag. Seal or pinch the bag closed and slide into the preheated oven.
  4. After 5 minutes, carefully use tongs to give the bag a good shake, distributing the (now melted) butter with the chestnuts and spices. Roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the chestnuts have softened a bit.
  5. Remove the pan and let rest 5 or so minutes before opening. Taste for salt and add a pinch more, if you like. Pour the chestnuts and sauce into a bowl and serve immediately (especially over tangy yogurt or vanilla ice cream!) or pack into a jar and refrigerate for up to a week.
  6. To reheat the chestnuts, warm in a pan over very low heat with a splash of water, tossing them often.

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