You’ve heard of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but did you know that you can also roast them in your oven? For a festive appetizer or side dish, there’s something wonderfully traditional about roasted chestnuts, and making them couldn’t be simpler! Chestnuts have a sweet meaty texture that’s different from most other nuts, with a sort of watery crunch most easily comparable to a macadamia nut. When roasted, they take on a buttery, rich texture, which we play off of with a rosemary honey compound butter that we’re pretty sure is going to be your new favorite condiment.
When it comes to sourcing chestnuts, you definitely can find varieties grown in Pennsylvania! Kohr Family Chestnut Farm from Pine Grove, PA (in Schuylkill County), Castanea Farms in Robesonia, PA (Berks County), which is home to the state’s second-largest Japanese chestnut tree, and Crooked Row Farm in Orefield, PA (Lehigh County) are all local sources to explore.
However, many farms have been struggling with growing consistent crops of chestnuts due to an invasive tree disease called Chestnut Blight, a pathogenic fungus native to Southeast Asia that spread to North America in the 1900s. It has caused terrible damage to many Pennsylvania chestnut trees, both on farms and in the wild, but there are a number of initiatives dedicated to addressing and stopping this crisis. The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation is one local example of a group that’s taking action to help restore the American Chestnut to eastern woodlands to “benefit our environment, our wildlife, and our society!” Visit its website to learn more.
And, remember to support your local farmers! You might be able to find chestnuts in the supermarket, but we urge you to shop small to help strengthen Pennsylvania’s agricultural community.
Roasted Pennsylvania Chestnuts with Rosemary Honey Butter
|Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|5 min||40 min||45 min|
- 2 pounds fresh PA chestnuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup PA honey
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for serving
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for serving
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with large piece of aluminum foil. Place chestnuts flat-side-down and, using a small sharp knife, cut an X into the rounded part of the shell, about 1″ to 1.5” long. Soak chestnuts in warm water for 1 minute and drain.
- Transfer chestnuts to prepared baking sheet and toss with butter, honey, salt, pepper and rosemary. Flip chestnuts to cut-side-up and gather up sides of foil, folding over chestnuts but leaving a hole in center for steam to escape. Roast in oven 30 to 40 minutes, until shells start to crack and peel away at cut.
- Remove from oven and transfer to serving dish, pouring any extra honey butter in foil over chestnuts. Garnish with salt and fresh rosemary sprigs and serve warm.
- Photos and recipe: Dish Works