Health

15 Health Benefits of Chestnuts, According to Science (+5 Delicious Chestnut Recipes)

Chestnuts are popular in the northern hemisphere owing to their rich flavor and sweetness. They are particularly popular during the Christmas season, when most families will roast some chestnuts as part of the festivities.

Chestnuts, also known as Castanea Sativa in scientific terms, have numerous health advantages because of their unique nutritional profile when compared to other nuts. Unlike other nuts, the chestnuts are rich in vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, folic acid, fatty acids, and they are low in fat and calories. All of these nutrients have significant health benefits as shall be made clear throughout this article.

The following are just some of the benefits of chestnuts to human health:

1. Chestnuts contain anti-oxidant properties

Chestnuts contain several nutrients that possess antioxidant properties. Free radicals cause oxidative damage in the cells of the body, and are associated with the development of several diseases including cancers, early aging, DNA damage, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular diseases among others.

Chestnuts contain copper that has been shown to exhibit antioxidant properties by preventing oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body (1, 2). Deficiency in copper in the body is linked to an increase in free radicals and oxidative damage in the cells of the body (3).

The deficiency of copper results in a decrease in antioxidant enzymes that copper helps to produce. In addition, copper deficiency affects the levels of other trace elements such as selenium, iron, and GSH, all of which play a crucial role in maintaining appropriate levels of antioxidant activity in the body (4).

Chestnuts also contain zinc, an essential antioxidant that helps prevent premature aging due to oxidative damage (2).

Chestnuts are also rich in vitamin A and C, both of which are strong anti-oxidant agents that combat free radicals in the tissue of the body (4).

Phenolic acids including ellagic and gallic acids are found in abundance in chestnuts, and several experiments on these acids have shown that they display potent anti-oxidant activities (5, 6).

Chestnuts contain a high amount of tannins that are important in scavenging free radicals, preventing oxidative damage, and inhibiting the permanent mutation of DNA sequences, whose occurrence can lead to serious health complications (7).

Some of the fatty acids found in chestnuts including oleic acid have demonstrated high efficacy in scavenging free radicals, and inhibiting the un-natural oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol (8).

Bottom Line: Chestnuts contain tannic, phenolic and fatty acids, as well as vitamin A, and C, zinc, and copper, all of which are important anti-oxidant agents, and help prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

2. Chestnuts are good for the health of pregnant women and their offspring

One study found that deficiency in magnesium, a trace element found in chestnuts, can lead to a short gestational period in expectant women (9). The same study found that magnesium deficiency during pregnancy can result in metabolic syndrome for both the mother and child later on in their lives.

Copper, also contained in chestnuts, is critical for cognitive development and skeletal growth in infancy (10). Further studies have shown that low birth weight is positively correlated to insufficient levels of copper stored in the infant’s liver (10).

Chestnuts contain approximately 1.7mg of iron in every 100 grams, which makes them a relatively good source of the mineral. Iron deficiency in women can result in low birth weight, sepsis, death of the child, and in several instances, the death of the mother (11).

Iron deficiency during birth and infancy is a major cause of learning difficulties and other diseases in infants (11).

Zinc, another trace mineral found in chestnuts, is critical for growth and development of unborn babies and infants (2, 12). Zinc deficiency in infants leads to learning impairments, poor memory, cognitive impairments, skin issues, and cerebral atrophy (12). Deficiency in zinc is related to diarrhea in infants, and can cause severe gastrointestinal issues as the child develops ( 12).

Chestnuts also contain high amounts of folate, which is quite rare for nuts. The folic acid derived from folate-rich food has been shown to have positive health effects on pregnant women and their offspring. For instance, folic acid is essential in rapid growth and increase of the cells of the foetus, as well as the growth and expansion of the cells of the placenta and the uterus (13).

Folic acid is also essential in increasing the blood volume of the pregnant woman (13). Deficiencies in folic acid in the mother are the main causes of neural tube defects in fetuses, as well as cleft palette and lip, and congenital heart conditions (13, 14).

The availability of Folic acid in pregnant women has also been proven to have an effect on the placental weight, length of gestation, and the birth weight (13).

Bottom Line: Chestnuts contain significantly high levels of folate, zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium, all of which are important in promoting proper health of pregnant women, and their offspring.

3. Chestnuts can help prevent and manage cardiovascular diseases

Chestnuts are an excellent source of calcium, which has been found instrumental in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. One study found that dietary intake of calcium or its supplementation can reduce mortality caused by ischemic heart disease in postmenopausal women (15, 16).

Studies have also shown that high dietary calcium intake can result in a decrease in the risk of atherosclerosis in elderly women and men (15, 17).

Chestnuts contain relatively high amounts of magnesium. Studies have indicated that magnesium is important in maintaining proper heart rhythm (18), and the inhibition of thrombosis in patients with coronary artery disease (19).

Studies have also shown that supplementation with magnesium is beneficial for the treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions that include, coronary heart complications, and atherosclerosis (20).

Due to their adequate amounts of copper, chestnuts are important in the fight against cardiovascular diseases. Studies indicate that deficiencies in copper lead to hypercholesterolemia, a condition where there are high levels of bad cholesterol, and low levels of the good cholesterol. The result is an increase in the risk of the onset of cardiovascular diseases including atherosclerosis (21, 22).

Studies also show that copper deficiencies are linked with cardiac rupture, irregular heartbeat, heart enlargement, ischemic heart disease, and heart artery thrombosis (21).

The iron content in chestnuts is also essential in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease and the worsening of these diseases increases with the occurrence of iron deficiencies (22, 23).

Zinc, also contained in chestnuts, has been shown to protect the body from the development of atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for the development of other cardiovascular diseases (12).

The tree nuts are also rich in complex carbohydrates (24) that are important in reducing the total and LDL levels of cholesterol in the body, thereby playing a protective role against the development of cardiovascular diseases (25).

In addition, carbohydrate rich foods such as chestnuts are the main sources of dietary fiber ( 24). For instance, chestnuts contain approximately 8.1g of fiber in every 100g. Dietary fiber has been known to decrease the cholesterol levels in the blood, especially the LDL levels, thereby minimizing the risk of coronary heart conditions, as well as other cardiovascular diseases (26).

Scientists also postulate that dietary fiber is critical in protecting individuals from metabolic diseases that include ischemic heart disease (27).

Another study showed that a rich fiber diet is effective in preventing hypercholesterolemia, a significant risk factor for CVDs (28).

One study demonstrated that dietary fiber was effective in managing cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type II diabetes (29).

Due to their high concentrations of folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, chestnuts help in the regulation of homocysteine (14, 30), an amino-acid that when in high levels leads to obstruction of heart vessels, an increased risk of heart attacks, as well as increased risk of severe cardiovascular diseases.

Studies have also reported that a deficiency in folic acid predisposes individuals to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases (30).

Chestnuts also contain a variety of monounsaturated fats such as oleic, linoleic and palmitoleic acids (24, 31), all of which are efficient in lowering the total lipid profile, and more importantly lowering the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, thereby significantly reducing the risk of cardiovascular conditions (31, 32).

Scientific research shows that tannins, abundantly found in chestnuts, have the ability to reduce the lipid profile, thereby assisting in preventing cardiovascular disease (7).

Bottom Line: Chestnuts contain minerals, tannins, fatty acids, and dietary fibers that are essential in lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of individuals developing cardiovascular diseases.

4. Chestnuts are good for digestive health

The rich fiber content in chestnuts makes them ideal for improving the function of the gastrointestinal system (26). Studies have shown that soluble and insoluble fibers help increase stool frequency, stool weight, and bulk, all of which are essential for proper bowel movement (28).

When it comes to constipation, scientists concur that diminished levels of dietary fiber in the gut significantly increases the risk of developing the condition (28). Experts recommend a high fiber diet for individuals who are suffering from chronic constipation.

Studies also demonstrate that dietary fiber is important in preventing diarrhea especially in malnourished patients (33). Research also shows that soluble dietary fibers are the best method of treating diarrhea (28).

There is also promising evidence that dietary fiber can help in treating irritable bowel syndrome ( 34). Further studies have indicated that dietary fiber can enhance remission from IBS, as well as play a protective role against ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, both of which are components of IBS (28, 35).

There is sufficient scientific evidence to support the use of boiled chestnuts to relieve diarrhea owing to their high concentration of tannins (36).

Zinc, found in sufficient levels in chestnuts, is useful in easing and treating the symptoms of gastroenteritis, i.e. stomach flu (2).

Furthermore, several laxatives found in the market are made from magnesium (18), dietary fiber (28, 37), and folate compounds.

Bottom Line: Chestnuts contain zinc, magnesium, dietary fiber, and tannins, all of which have an crucial role in improving digestive health and preventing and treating IBS, constipation, and diarrhea.

5. Chestnuts promote bone health

Chestnuts contain a relatively high amount of magnesium (24), which is critical in the absorption, breakdown, and transportation of calcium (38, 39). Thus, the body would be unable to receive the benefits of calcium if it was not for magnesium.

Magnesium also supports the production and regulation of both calcitonin and the parathyroid hormone (38). Calcitonin preserves the bones while parathyroid controls the breakdown of old bones.

Magnesium is also required for the activation of the enzyme that controls the formation of calcium crystals (38), and is essential for bone formation (18). Scientists have concluded that magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for abnormal crystal formation in the bones, as well as osteoporosis.

Chestnuts also contain a higher phosphorous content than any other nuts (24). Phosphorus is an essential building block for bones, DNA, and teeth (40).

According to the USDA, 100 grams of chestnuts contain approximately 46 mg of calcium, making chestnuts an ideal dietary source for calcium. Studies have shown that regular dietary intake of calcium helps bone development in children as well as bone preservation in the elderly (41).

Another study found that increased calcium intake resulted in higher bone mineral density in postmenopausal women that consumed a low calcium diet (15).

Scientists also recommend that patients with osteoporosis, or individuals who are at a higher risk of developing the disease should increase their intake of calcium to manage or avert the disease (15).

Studies also indicate that individuals who suffer from a deficiency of copper, one of the minerals contained in chestnuts, are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis (1). One study showed that copper supplementation is effective in preventing bone loss, and promoting bone mineral density in middle-aged women, thereby making the mineral effective in battling osteoporosis (42).

Bottom Line: Chestnuts contain copper, calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, all of which play an integral role in promoting bone health in people of all ages.

6. Chestnuts contribute to the energy requirements in the body and improves physical performance

Copper and phosphorous, two trace minerals found in chestnuts, are essential in the production, transformation, and storage of energy in the body (1, 40).

Chestnuts contain magnesium, which is essential for energy metabolism (18, 20, 39), as well as the relaxation and contraction of body muscles (18). Its role in energy production and muscle movement helps improve exercise performance (43).

Iron, also contained in chestnuts, is essential in improving physical performance because of its role in transporting oxygen throughout the body (44). Iron is essential in the synthesis of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to different parts of the body.

Furthermore, chestnuts contain high amounts of complex carbohydrates, which are the main sources of energy for the body (45).

One study showed that complex carbohydrates such as those contained in chestnuts were essential in providing endurance for long distance runners, alongside magnesium, calcium, iron, and Vitamin B (46).

Bottom Line: Due to their high concentrations of copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and carbohydrates, chestnuts are an excellent energy giving food and can help in improving physical performance, and endurance.

7. Chestnuts can help in the prevention and management of diabetes

Chestnuts contain magnesium, which plays an integral role in the secretion of insulin, and its deficiency causes problems with insulin sensitivity (18) and also increases the chance of the individual developing insulin resistance, and hyperglycemia (22, 47).

The copper contained in chestnuts can help with the management or prevention of diabetes. Studies show that a deficiency in the trace element results in a decrease in insulin response, glucose intolerance, as well as a spike in the body’s response to glucose (21, 22, 48). These are all also risk factors for the development of diabetes.

Studies have also shown that the dietary fiber contained in food sources such as chestnuts helps in the regulation of glycemic function, thereby inhibiting the development of diabetes (26, 49).

In addition, scientific sources also suggest that dietary fiber plays a critical role in preventing the development of diabetes mellitus (type II diabetes) in individuals (27, 29).

Further studies indicate that high intake of dietary fiber is essential in significantly reducing the risk of children and adolescents developing diabetes (49).

Zinc, another trace mineral found in chestnuts, is currently being used to manage insulin resistance in children, in order to prevent the onset of diabetes (12). Other studies have shown that zinc is essential for the proper storage of insulin, and its deficiency not only exacerbates insulin resistance, but also promotes the development of hyperglycemia (22, 48).

Chestnuts also contain manganese, which is required in the metabolism of glucose, as well as in the secretion and production of insulin.

Chestnuts also contain iron, whose deficiency is correlated to insulin resistance, and inducing diabetes.

The high concentration of monounsaturated fats in chestnuts makes them beneficial in the fight against diabetes mellitus.

Bottom Line: Chestnuts are rich in fatty acids, essential minerals, and dietary fiber that scientists have observed are effective in the prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes.

8. Chestnuts contain antimicrobial properties

Studies have shown that chestnut extracts contain antimicrobial enzymes that are potent against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli (50, 51).

Chestnuts contain high amounts of tannins, which scientists have found are effective in the treatment of parasitic infections such as ascariasis, a parasitic infection in the small intestine (52), as well as food-borne bacteria.

Chestnuts are also effective antibacterial agents because they contain zinc, and copper, whose diminished levels raises the risk of an individual acquiring a bacterial infection (53).

Bottom Line: Chestnuts are rich in antimicrobial enzymes, zinc, copper, and tannins that have proven to be effective in protecting the body from bacterial and parasitic infections.

9. Chestnuts are gluten-free

Chestnuts are gluten-free, which means that they are incredible food sources for individuals suffering from celiac disease, gluten-sensitivity, and wheat allergy (54).

Chestnuts can provide the necessary dietary requirements for vitamins, minerals, starch, folic acid, fiber, and fatty acids (31) to individuals who cannot consume foods containing gluten.

Bottom Line: By lacking gluten, chestnuts are ideal food sources for a variety of essential nutrients for individuals who are unable or unwilling to consume foods contain gluten.

10. Chestnuts can function as an expectorant

For hundreds of years, people have been using chestnuts to relieve colds, sore throats, and coughs because they contain expectorant properties (55).

This property tells the body to hydrate the throat region in order to provide relief for dryness and itchiness in the throat when one is suffering from a cold or a sore throat (56). The result is symptom relief from the cough or sore throat.

Bottom Line: Chestnuts have been used for centuries as an effective expectorant for the treatment of sore and dry throats, as well as colds.

11. Chestnuts promote various blood functions

Chestnuts contain copper, magnesium, and calcium, which are essential for blood coagulation (57, 58). The phosphorous contained in the chestnuts is also important in the buffering of blood (40).

Copper is also important in the manufacture of hemoglobin, which is an important oxygen carrier.

Studies also indicate that hemoglobin synthesis is heavily dependent on the availability of iron, which can be derived from eating chestnuts (11). If the levels of hemoglobin are low, then an individual is at a high risk of developing anemia.

Tannins, found in high amounts in chestnuts, have been proven to increase blood clotting, thereby ensuring that pathogens do not enter the body through open wounds (7).

The oleic acid and the magnesium found in significant quantities in chestnuts is critical in preventing unwarranted platelet aggregation, which when left unchecked can result in poor blood circulation, blockages in the capillaries, and heart conditions (8, 19, 32, 47).

Zinc, one of the many essential minerals found in chestnuts, helps in promoting wound healing, thereby protecting the body from pathogens (2, 22).

Bottom Line: Chestnuts are rich in zinc, oleic acid, tannins, and minerals such as copper, iron, and magnesium that enhance the functions of the blood including inhibiting platelet aggregation, and promoting wound healing.

12. Chestnuts can help regulate blood pressure

As mentioned above, chestnuts contain adequate amounts of copper, which is essential in the regulation of blood pressure. A deficiency in copper usually results in the loss of blood pressure control.

Magnesium, also found in chestnuts has been proven essential in lowering blood pressure, and doctors prescribe magnesium supplements to individuals suffering from the condition.

Magnesium supplementation has also been proven effective in the treatment of preeclampsia, a condition experienced by pregnant women that is often associated with high blood pressure (20, 39).

Other studies have shown that the combination of magnesium and potassium, both present in chestnuts, can help in improving blood pressure response (60). In addition, magnesium has been clinically proven to enhance the efficiency of drugs used in the fight against hypertension (59, 60).

Several studies have also shown that tannins and dietary fiber, nutrients both found in abundance in chestnuts, are effective in reducing blood pressure.

Bottom Line: The presence of magnesium, tannins, dietary fiber, potassium, and copper in varying amounts in chestnuts makes these food sources ideal for the prevention and proper management of high blood pressure.

13. Chestnuts aid in weight loss

Unlike several nuts, chestnuts contain low levels of fats and calories (61). One study found that a diet containing low levels of fat and calories helps in the loss of weight, as well as the circumference of the waist (62).

There is also mounting scientific evidence that eating foods that contain high levels of fats produces a lot of energy, but not enough satiety, which encourages overconsumption (63, 64).

Several other studies have intimated that a low fat but high complex carbohydrate diet is effective in weight loss and weight management.

Studies have also demonstrated that dietary fiber, which is found in huge amounts in chestnuts, is effective in enhancing weight loss and management, and in preventing obesity in both animal and human studies. This is because fibers increase satiety, thereby reducing excessive food intake, a major contributor to weight gain and obesity (65).

Conclusive research has produced evidence that shows that individuals who eat a low fiber diet weigh much more than individuals who consume a high fiber diet (66).

Scientific evidence has also shown that dietary fiber intake reduces the risk of obesity development in children and adolescents

Scientists have also encouraged the use of zinc supplementation in helping controlling weight and obesity in children.

Bottom Line: Chestnuts contain zinc, fiber, as well as low levels of fats but high amounts of complex carbohydrates, nutrients that are effective in promoting weight loss and inhibiting obesity.

14. Chestnuts aid in boosting immunity

Due to their iron content, the consumption of chestnuts is ideal in enhancing immune response because the regulation of iron distribution in the body is one of the ways that the body protects itself from the invasion of pathogens (67, 68, 69). Majority of pathogens require iron from the host in order to cause disease, and the body limits the amount of iron that is available to these harmful microorganisms.

Research has shown that a deficiency in copper, an essential mineral found in chestnuts, results in an increase in the risk of bacterial infection (2 ,70). The same body of research contends that the body can ensure the ability of pathogens to survive is reduced by intoxicating tissues and cells with copper during a potential infection.

Another study also found that copper was instrumental in stimulating macrophages, which are the white cells responsible for fighting off infections (68, 71).

Chestnuts also contain the fatty acid, linoleic acid, which has been shown to enhance the performance of lymphocytes (a special type of white blood cells), as well as their proliferation in infection sites (72).

The vitamin B6 found in chestnuts is also important for the proper growth and rapid increase of lymphocytes especially during infection (73). The vitamin is also critical in the production of antibodies, which are essential in the fight against viruses and bacteria infection (73).

As excellent sources of vitamin C, chestnuts can aid immunity due to the vitamin’s role in increasing the body’s resistance to bacterial infections, as well as in enhancing the production and movement of macrophages and neutrophils that are crucial in immune response (74).

Chestnuts contain zinc, which is essential in reducing the risk of infections that include diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia (12).

Studies have also indicated that a deficiency in zinc in the elderly is linked to a reduction in the immune system’s ability to repair wounds, which can be a source of entry for pathogens. A deficiency in zinc also compromises the competence of the immune system (12).

In addition, zinc is essential for the proper communication of the different cells involved in the immune function, thereby enhancing the immune response (2).

The high fiber content in chestnuts is also important in improving the body’s immunity. The fiber contains prebiotics that have been proven to work with the immune system to create a barrier in the gut that inhibits bacteria and other pathogens from accessing the gastrointestinal tract (75).

The fiber has also been shown to improve immunity by assisting in the production of short-chain fatty acids. An increase in SCFAs results in an increase in macrophages, killer cells, and neutrophils, all of which are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.

Another component of chestnuts, tannins, play the integral role of regulating the body’s immune responses, while oleic and palmitic acids, also found in chestnuts play the role of inflammatory regulators, and increase the population of macrophages in needed areas (76).

Bottom Line: The fatty acids, tannins, copper, iron, zinc, fiber, and vitamins B and C content of chestnuts make them ideal immune boosting foods.

15. Chestnuts are helpful in maintaining electrolyte balance

Chestnuts are essential for maintaining electrolyte balance in our bodies because they contain relatively high amounts of magnesium, calcium, water, and potassium. One study found that imbalances in the levels of or deficiencies in potassium, magnesium, and calcium were the main causes of electrolyte imbalance especially in elderly patients (77).

Proper electrolyte balance is critical in the management of hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, and other comorbid diseases. One study concluded that the availability of potassium and magnesium in the body affected electrolyte balance, and thus these minerals could be used in the treatment of these conditions (78).

Bottom Line: Electrolyte balance is essential in treating various disorders such as high blood pressure among others, and consumption of chestnuts can help in promoting this balance owing to their high content of potassium, calcium, moisture content, and magnesium.

Tasty and Delicious Chestnut Recipes

Kale, mushroom, and chestnut pie

This pie recipe is especially ideal for vegetarians, and anyone else looking for a cozy, nutritious meal on cold evenings. The preparation and cooking takes at least an hour, and depending on the amount of ingredients used, the meal can serve between two to six individuals (79).

Ingredients

100g of cooked chestnuts

2 cloves of finely chopped garlic

1 finely chopped onion

1 egg

30g of all purpose flour

30g of butter (without salt)

100g of finely chopped celery

375g of puff pastry

30g of soaked porcini mushrooms

400g of kale

350ml of milk

300g of chestnut mushrooms

Sage leaves

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Allow it to melt, and then add the celery, cloves of garlic, and celery, cooking them until they become soft.

2. Chop the porcini mushrooms, and add to the celery mixture alongside the chestnuts and sage leaves. Let the mixture cook for another five minutes and then add the flour. Stir the mixture as you pour in the milk and cook until the mixture becomes thick. Set aside.

3. Put water in a large pan and let it boil. Put in the kale and let them cook until they become tender. Remove the kale from the pan, and rinse under cold water, followed by patting them dry with paper towels. Mix the kale with the chestnut mixture, and ensure that the dish is properly seasoned. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof tray.

4. Dust the clean countertop with a little flour, and then roll the pastry on this surface. Ensure that the pastry is only slightly bigger than the tray, and then brush the edges of the tray with the beaten egg. Cut some pastry into strips and lay them on the edges of the tray. Apply more of the egg on these strips, and place the rest of the rolled pastry over the chestnut, kale, and mushroom mixture. Bake the mixture for thirty minutes, allow it to cool, and then serve.

Chestnut pasta noodles with thyme/sage and pancetta

This is a pasta noodle recipe that is very easy to make, and will be ready in approximately 20-30 minutes (80). This particular recipe can serve four individuals as a main course.

Ingredients

200g of ready chestnuts (chopped)

100g of pancetta

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme/sage

1 finely chopped onion

300g of flat pasta e.g. fettuccine, or pappardelle

240ml of grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

Preparation

1. Boil water in a large pan, add the pasta, and let it cook until they are firm. Drain at least three quarter of the water, leaving a little to be used later on.

2. In the meantime, heat oil in a skillet, add the onion, and fry for the next five minutes. Add the pancetta, garlic, half of the thyme/sage leaves, and the chestnuts. Fry for another five minutes, until all the ingredients are tender.

3. Pour in the pasta, and parmesan cheese along with the water you preserved. Garnish and season with the remaining sage/thyme leaves, as well as salt. Serve immediately.

Chestnuts and Pork

This recipe makes for a delicious meal that you can enjoy on cool evenings with friends and family. The recipe is designed to feed six people, but you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients to fit the number of guests that you will be serving (81).

Ingredients

250g of chestnuts (cooked and halved)

1 cup of water

24 ounces of boneless pork

1 cup of chicken broth

½ cup of diced onions

4 cinnamon sticks

1/3 cup of dry white wine

½ cup of soy sauce

4 pods of star anise

¼ cup of ginger (chopped)

4 teaspoons of cornstarch

A tablespoon of water

Preparation

1. Put the pork, chestnuts, chicken broth, water, chopped onions, ginger, sugar, anime pods, and cinnamon sticks in a heavy pot, and place the pot over medium heat. Let the mixture boil then reduce the fire to allow it to simmer for the next 1 ½ hours. Once the meat has become tender, remove the pods and the cinnamon sticks.

2. Pour in the cornstarch followed by the water, ensuring to stir well, and let the entire mixture come to a boil. Continue cooking until a thick consistency emerges, and then remove from the fire. You can serve the dish with rice or Japanese noodles.

Baked Chestnuts

Baked chestnuts are a favorite among families during the festive seasons. The following recipe produces a dish that is sufficient for eight people, and it takes approximately 50 minutes (82).

Ingredients

16 whole chestnuts

2 tbs of soy sauce

4-8 slices of bacon

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

¼ cup of ketchup

1 teaspoon of black pepper

½ cup of brown sugar

Preparation

1. Thoroughly mix the black pepper, pinch of garlic, chestnuts, soy sauce, ketchup, and vinegar in a resealable bag, and then squeeze all the air from inside the bag. Let the mixture marinate throughout the night.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees the following morning, and align parchment paper on a baking sheet.

3. Retrieve the marinated chestnuts, and wrap each one with a slice of bacon, securing the chestnuts and bacon with a toothpick. Roll each chestnut in a bowl of brown sugar, and place them on the baking sheet.

4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let the chestnuts bake until you see the sugar bubbling. Serve the appetizers after they have cooled.

Roasted Rooster with chestnut pulp, oyster sauce, Guinness and hay

This twist on the traditional roasted rooster (capon) is a challenging dish to prepare but the savory essence of the meal makes the cooking and preparation truly worth it. This main course recipe is ideal for four people, and it will take you approximately 8 ½ hours to prepare (83).

Ingredients

1 capon approximately 1.5 kg in weight

500g of chestnuts

A can of Guinness

130g of hay

125g of butter

A sprig of fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

A tablespoon of olive oil

2liters of water

Preparation

1. Place 100g of in a skillet, and flame the pan with a blowtorch, or over high heat on the gas. Let the hay burn for a few seconds, and then pour in the water. Allow the water to boil, and then remove the pan from the source of the heat. Drain some of the water, and then divide the hay into two.

2. Keep half of the boiled hay in a big container, add some salt and the capon. Let the capon marinate in the hay-salt mixture for at least an hour or more. Remove the capon from the hay stock and leave it in the fridge overnight.

3. Thaw the capon the following morning for at least an hour before you begin the cooking process. As it thaws, preheat the oven to about 240 degrees Celsius. Rub the capon with olive oil, pepper and salt, and place the chicken in the preheated oven. Allow the chicken to roast for the next 1 ½ hours.

4. As it roasts, prepare the chestnut pulp by boiling the chestnuts, some of the remaining hay stock and thyme sprigs over high heat. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste, and then pour the boiled mixture into a blender. Blend the mixture while also adding some hay stock, and butter, and then sieve the mixture and set aside.

5. After the chestnut pulp is ready, move on to the preparation of the oyster and Guinness sauce by adding the remainder of the hay stock and the can of Guinness in a large pan. Let it boil, and then reduce the mixture to only a 1/3 of its original volume.

6. Steam the oysters, remove their shells, blend and sieve. Pour the sieved oyster sauce in the Guinness mixture, put in some butter, and mix thoroughly.

7. Remove the capon from the oven, carve and place the different chicken pieces on plates. Place a spoon of the chestnut pulp all around the plate, and enjoy.

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