If the plan is to roast chestnuts, then the best results will be achieved by using a chestnut pan. With a special design that helps to ensure an even temperature during the roasting process, the chestnut roasting pan is a little different from the average roaster or frying pan. Here are some of the unique attributes of the chestnut pan, and why it works so well for the preparation of chestnuts.
At first glance, the chestnut pan looks a lot like any larger skillet or frying pan. The big difference is found in the bottom of the pan. A series of holes in the bottom of the chestnut pan allow for greater direct exposure for the chestnuts. The result is that the chestnuts cook more evenly and there is less chance of the batch containing some nuts that are overcooked while others are undercooked.
Another unique feature of the chestnut pan is a longer handle than most household frying pans. Roasting chestnuts is an activity that can take place over an open fire as well as on a stovetop. The longer handle makes the task of jiggling the pan and moving around the chestnuts much easier. Most handles on chestnut pans are constructed of wood or coated with some sort of insulation that keeps it cool to the touch,
Chestnut pans are often found in stainless steel versions. However, persons who enjoy using cast iron can purchase chestnut pan versions in this material. Like all cast iron cookware, chestnut pans of this type should be seasoned and blackened before the first actual usage. There is one school of thought that roasting chestnuts in a properly seasoned cast iron pan will bring out the flavor of the chestnuts more brilliantly than any other method.
Using a chestnut pan to prepare chestnuts is not difficult to do. If using a stovetop, the heating element should be set in the middle of the cooking range. Score each of the chestnuts with an “X”, using either a chestnut knife or a sharp kitchen knife. The idea is to create a small opening in the shell for steam to escape during the roasting process. Fill the roasting pan with an even level of chestnuts. Attempting to fill the pan to capacity will only result in uneven cooking, even with constant shaking and jiggling.
While many chestnut pans come with lids, some people prefer to not use them, allowing the steam to freely escape from the chestnuts. Purportedly, this helps to make the roasted chestnuts crispier. Shake the pans every couple of minutes to allow the heat to evenly distribute, using the same type of movement used when popping corn on a stovetop device. Generally, the chestnuts will be done within fifteen minutes.
Chestnut pans are dishwasher safe and can easily be stored in the home or as part of the camping gear. While the pans do tend to cast a little more than standard frying pans, they last for a number of years with nothing more than routine care. For an even roasting method that can be used over an open fire or in the home, a chestnut pan is a great option.