This is one of our all-time favorites, created by Chef Charlie Palmer.
What to buy:
Fresh is better, but good-quality frozen or jarred chestnuts are a reasonable substitute (they do not need to be roasted). For fresh mail-order chestnuts, try Delmarvelous Farms.
Slab bacon, available from most butchers (call ahead), is almost always sold with the rind still attached; cut it off before using. Put the bacon in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to firm it up before slicing.
To peel a chestnut, cut a large X into one side of the shell, cutting all the way through the tough membrane. (If you don’t, the chestnut will blow up in your oven. Imagine popcorn the size of a ping-pong ball!) Put the chestnuts in a shallow pan and bake in a preheated 325°F oven until the shells curl along the cuts and the outsides are nicely toasted (about 15 minutes). Cool slightly (they’re easier to peel while they’re still warm) and remove the shells. Rub in a clean kitchen towel to remove as much as possible of the dark, bitter membrane.
This recipe was featured as part of Charlie Palmer’s Classic Thanksgiving menu.