Thursday, December 15, 2005

Golden Chestnut Soup

The first time we ever tried roasting chestnuts, my husband and I bought some on a whim at the grocery store ("Hey, look, chestnuts! Just like in that song!"). We spread them out on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Unfortunately, we didn’t know you must cut a slit in the shell of the chestnut to release steam. In a few minutes chestnuts were going off like fireworks, ricocheting around inside the oven with deep booming explosions. What a mess that was!

We learned our lesson that day, but we never gave up on chestnuts. They are absolutely delicious roasted and eaten out of hand as a snack, or puréed into a rich, golden soup.

serves 4

1 lb. fresh chestnuts
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery, diced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. white pepper


Preheat the oven to 475º. Cut an "x" in the shell of each chestnut with a sharp paring knife. Arrange the chestnuts on a baking sheet with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast for 20 minutes, until the outer shell has pulled slightly away from the chestnut and the shell and the inner skin peel away easily.

Remove the outer shell and inner skin of each chestnut and place them in a bowl. Work quickly while the chestnuts are still hot (hold them with a kitchen towel if they are too hot to touch). Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the garlic cloves and add it to the bowl with the chestnuts. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, fresh thyme, and bay leaves. Sauté, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chestnuts and garlic and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and let the soup cool slightly. Transfer the soup to a Vita-Mix or other blender, in batches if necessary, and purée until the soup is completely smooth. Pour the soup into a clean saucepan and add the salt, nutmeg, and white pepper. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring. Taste for salt and serve.

15 comments:

rosemaryfromoregon said...

I have been looking for a chestnut soup recipe.....looks like I don't have to look any further. I will be trying it this weekend.

I can't wait for your cookbook!

Jennifershmoo said...

Great, Rosemary! Let me know how it goes. :-)

rosemaryfromoregon said...

I sure will, Jennifer. I stopped by the "chestnut store" on the way home from work today........I should have something to report by the end of the weekend!

rosemaryfromoregon said...

I made the Golden Chestnut Soup today. Lovely flavor! It was a little too thick/rich for me (those little chestnuts are intensely sweet!) so I added a quart of Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth, more salt and more ground white pepper. I love it! I'll be taking it in MY lunches this week (I don't mind eating the same thing every day).

Thanks Jennifer!

Jennifershmoo said...

Thank you so much, Rosemary! I will add a note to the recipe to "thin with broth if desired". We like our soups thick and hearty. :-)

rosemaryfromoregon said...

I am usually a "thick and hearty" soup person myself.....in this case the reason for adding additional broth was to decrease the sweetness factor.

I froze some in individual containers for lunches later. I will be interested to see if/how much freezing will change the texture/taste.

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight...took the time to cut the chestnuts and roasted them...only to find that that I had bought old, dried chestnuts and they burnt into stones!! So, I substituted 3 potatoes, boiled. It turned out to be a very tasty, hearty soup! Thanks for the wonderful recipe. :D

Anonymous said...

would it be possible to substitute chestnut flour? or do you have any other recipes for chestnut flour?
this soup sounds great, anyway!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your recipe! Soups are very healthy food.

Abu said...

Hi

Well here is the way I do it.

1 Lb of chestnuts that I slit and throw in batches of ten in the microwave for two min each. They just open up and the skin peels with ease.

1 liter of milk
1 litter of chicken broth
2 onions
2 Spoon flour
a hand full of celery leaves
half a nutmeg
Some cream for decorating the pates, and some chopped parsley

I fry the onions that are Finlay chopped till they are pink and soft. Mid way into that I add the flower. Keep stirring once you add the flour not to lump.

Add the broth once it gets boiling add the milk and the peeled chestnuts. Fifteen minutes later take the chestnuts with some of the broth put them in a mixer, then put them back in with the rest to boil some more. Add the nutmeg and the celery. Do not leave it a lot on the fire after that. Place a spoon or two of cream into each plate, and some chopped parsley with it.

If you like some extra calories you can have some croutons with them. A lot of smiles after this is served.

Anonymous said...

I was missing the bay leaves, but it is still good! Healthy too! Gotta love that chestnut flavour eh.

Ginamarie said...

Abu,

"...milk and chicken broth?!" I'm a little surpised to see this recipe posted on a vegan website. Maybe you could substitute with rice or soy milk and veggie broth, for the purposes of this forum?

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Lynn said...

Oh, I'm so happy I found this recipe! I'd been given two pounds of chestnuts and didn't know what to do with them. This soup turned out so well -- so creamy and aromatic! I look forward to making it again.