Peeling chestnuts … Painlessly

20131127-232912.jpg

The pumpkin is cooked and the chestnuts are peeled; the turkey is dry brining in the fridge; I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving!
It’s my favorite holiday – loved ones around the table, good food atop it, and a chance to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for.
In my family, we are all about chestnuts in our stuffing. Unfortunately, coaxing said chestnuts out of their shells can be a painful experience. Just the word “chestnut” is enough to remind me of the burned fingertips and that horrible feeling I get when the fuzzy skin stabs me under my nails. Ugh. Sharp as knives. Well, one thing I remember about last year is that my mom discovered an amazing new way to peel chestnuts. There is a quick little video here but no audio and not much explanation so this is what I did:
1. Cut the chestnuts in half with my biggest sharpest kitchen knife. While bringing a pot of water to a rolling boil.
2. In batches, parboiled the chestnuts for two minutes.
3. Used pliers to squeeze the chestnuts out if their shells.
It is worth looking at the video to get a sense of what you need to do (it is less than a minute long).
4. Finished cooking the chestnuts in the oven.
It was so easy and, most importantly, painless!