Autumn in Portugal brings lots of goods, just when you think the plentiful summer has come to an end. With the colourful harvest of the vineyards arrive the chestnuts and the magustos, open air festivities celebrating the new wine with chestnuts roasted on a bonfire. Used as compliments to roast meats or as key ingredients in soups long before the potato was introduced from the new world, the chestnut is now a delicacy usually appreciated after a meal. This is the simplest and perhaps the most rewarding way of cooking chestnuts. While traditional roast chestnuts bring out a crispy and fluffy texture, boiling them brings out their unique sweet and nutty flavour.
Read about São Martinho, the chestnut day par excellence!
500 gr chestnuts
1.5 L water
1. Cut off an edge from the chestnut skin. This will make them cook thoroughly and easier to peel.
2. Bring the salted water (salt liberally) to a boil and cook the chestnuts under moderate heat for 35-45 minutes.
3. When cooked (they should be soft and smooth inside), drain the water and cover with a cloth for a few minutes before peeling. Enjoy with a glass of jeropiga (a drink made out of adding aguardente to new grape must). If you can’t get hold of jeropiga, port wine will work just as well!