Chestnuts are a popular and delightful snack no matter what time of year, but before you can enjoy a roasted chestnut and before you even begin roasting said chestnuts you are going to need a chestnut knife. Even if you have never had a chestnut in your life, chances are you have heard the Nat King Cole's classic The Christmas Song with it's famous opening lyric "chestnuts roasting on and open fire." Chestnuts are also a great accessory to certain vegetable dishes as well as salads and a number of other dishes.
The reason for this is that when a chestnut is cooked without being sliced it might actually explode when the pressure of the steam inside it get to be too much. To avoid this happening you will need to create a space for the steam to escape from the inside of the chestnut and to do this you will need a chestnut knife. A chestnut knife is mostly all handle with a short, curved and dull piece of steel at the end.
Before you begin roasting the chestnut find the part of the shell that appears to be bulging or rounded. This is where you will use the chestnut knife to cut a slit into the shell. For the best results make two incisions that intersect each other. This will create a vent for the steam to escape. After the chestnuts are finished cooking you may want to remove the shell. The chestnut knife can be used for this as well. Using the knife make start cutting in the center and continue the incision so it makes a complete circle around the shell without cutting all the way through the nut inside. After this is done removal of the shell should be easy.