Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Another Thanksgiving Tradition: Castagna (Chestnuts)

Castagna (kass- tan-ya) also know as chestnut.  Fresh chestnuts may be poached in wine, roasted or fried in butter as a garnish..   We love them ! Grandpa made sure his wine jug was close by.  It was usually under his chair!  Miss him and his stubborn ways!  My father took after him being stubborn as well  but I have to say they were gentle and loving and the memories I have will stay in my heart forever! 

Bake at 400 degrees approx 15 to 20 minutes

Now this is a perfect chestnut..Baked and easily removed from the shell.

In early November we usually see chestnuts in the grocery store or market in large baskets or bins.  Every year since I can remember we would have fresh chestnuts.  Grandpa or Nonno would have his wine jug next to his chair and Grandma or Nonna would be roasting them on the Coal Stove.  I remember Grandma putting a slight cut or X in the center of the chestnut  so it wouldn't pop open and splatter all over the oven..  If we didn't put a slight cut we'd have chestnuts pieces all over the kitchen..

My Mom baked them in the oven and so do I making sure to remember to make that small slit for sure.  I can't say that often enough.   After they are baked (around 20 minutes at 400 degrees) she took them out of the oven(those little slits have spread and you can see some of the chestnut) and placed them in a clean dishtowel that was slightly moistened ,wrapped them up tightly for a few minutes to insure those chestnuts could be easily removed from their shell.  Most times it worked on all of them.. Some times there were duds and we had to pick them out of their shell.. Phooey!  Frustrating because I was so eager to get one that was whole.  I never minded really any of that because I just loved those chestnuts and still do now..

I bought some for our Thanksgiving feast(I seek out the plumpest largest chestnuts I can find) and of course I had to bake some for the hubby and I as an early treat.. Yummy!

If you have never tried them try a few..  Hopefully you'll enjoy them and want to make chestnuts a part of your holiday tradition..

I don't know if  chestnuts are as popular as they were when I was growing up or when my children were little but in most  Italian households Castagna or Chestnuts are a part of your Thanksgiving feast.  A Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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