They're gorgeous in both sweet or savoury dishes

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is, unequivocally, the sight and smell of chilly winter nights. But beyond cracking open their blistered, conker-brown skin and snarfling them with a glass of wine, how many of us actually know what we're doing when it comes to cooking with chestnuts?


Here's everything you need to know... 


First things first – how to cook them

Whole chestnuts taste best either baked, roasted or boiled. There are various contraptions on the market to make roasting on an open flame easier – there are large, specifically designed slotted spoons available with holes in their base to let the flames through – but you can improvise by poking some holes in a tin can. Then all you need to do is fill the can up about a quarter with chestnuts and put the tin in the fire until cooked, which will take around 15 minutes. (Just always wear protective oven gloves.) If you end up baking or boiling your chestnuts, just remember to test with a skewer before you eat. Their flesh should be soft and fluffy. Failing that, you can buy them pre-prepared and vacuum packed – and if you don't tell anyone we won't either.


Now we've covered the basics, give these a go...

Here are our favourite chestnut recipes for you to try. We're now officially obsessed. 


Mushroom and chestnut pies with a garlic crouton crust

This is a seriously hearty little number with lots of flavour from the mushrooms. As a nice twist on a classic pie recipe, we've topped this with a crusty garlic loaf instead of pastry. It's genius. 


Ham, mushroom and chestnut pie

Ham, mushroom and chestnut pie

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Dan Jones

Just the perfect midweek dinner for anyone who wants a cuddle from the inside out. Ace with billowing clouds of buttery mash. 


Mont Blanc dates

Mont Blanc dates

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Laura Edwards

These stuffed dates will double as a gorgeous pud with coffee, as they're deliciously rich and sweet.


Chestnut and goat's cheese tart

Vegetarians will be used to being served up goat's cheese tarts ad nauseam, but this one is totally different. Rich, sweet yet savoury and packed full of flavour, you'll make this again and again. 


Mushroom and chestnut soup

Mushroom and chestnut soup

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Ria Osborne

Mushroom and chestnuts are a woodland partnership made in heaven and this easy and delicious soup is even better the next day, making it perfect to bring in with you to work. 


Chocolate and chestnut roulade

Phwoar. Just phwoar. 


Sprouts with chestnut crumble

Brussel sprouts with chestnuts

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Jonathan Gregson

We have it on very good authority that even those who aren't the biggest fan of sprouts will be very into this side dish. 


Next-level nut roast with spiced cranberry relish

Gone are the days when a nut roast was a boring addition to any roast dinner – this is definitely the main event and will have meat eaters and veggies alike scrambling for seconds. 


Decadent chocolate and chestnut bars

Chocolate and chestnut bars

Via: Sainsbury's Magazine/Photo: Jonathan Gregson

These chocolate and chestnut bars are packed with chocolate and rich flavours. Go on, treat yourself.