Fresh chestnuts are ideal in this dish, but you can substitute 1 (15-ounce) jar if necessary. If so, skip the soaking and microwaving steps; just chop and proceed with the recipe. If you do use fresh, buy a little extra, as some usually have to be discarded because of spoilage.
1 pound fresh chestnuts in shells
1 1/2 cups diced peeled baking potato
2 (12-ounce) containers standard oysters, undrained
2 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry
How to Make It
Soak chestnuts in a bowl of water for 30 minutes.
While chestnuts are soaking, place potato in a medium saucepan, and cover with water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender; drain.
Drain chestnuts. Cut a slit in the shell on the rounded side of the chestnut. (Make sure slit goes the whole way though the shell. If not, they will explode.) Arrange chestnuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe dish. (Microwave a maximum of 12 chestnuts at one time, in order to cook evenly). Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Peel and chop to equal 2 cups.
Drain oysters in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup oyster liquid; set oysters aside.
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add chestnuts, chopped onion, celery, and green onions to bacon drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute. Add potato, reserved oyster liquid, milk, bacon, salt, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until thick (about 8 minutes). Stir in sherry and oysters; cook 3 minutes or until edges of oysters curl. Serve immediately.