Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chestnut Soup

This is not a giant spoon - just a small ramekin.
Last week I made roasted chestnuts and was inspired to look up new ways to use them. I was intrigued by this recipe because I had never considered making chestnuts into soup before. I don't think anyone else at the table had either. Judging by the worried expressions on their faces, I'd say expectations were fairly low. But everyone was pleasantly surprised by how unique and delightful it was. I just love a good underdog story.

Makes 8 cups (6-8 servings)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 whole cloves
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
6 cups homemade chicken stock (or low-sodium chicken broth)
1 (14- to 15-ounce) jar peeled cooked whole chestnuts, crumbled (3 cups)
1/4 cup Sercial Madeira
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.      Melt butter in a large pot over low heat, then stir in celery, carrot, and onion. Cover pan with lid, then sweat vegetables for 15 minutes (to soften).
2.      Wrap parsley, cloves, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with string to make a bouquet garni.
3.      Add broth and bouquet garni to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add chestnuts and Madeira and simmer, covered, 3 minutes. Remove bouquet garni.
4.      Using an immersion blender, purée soup until smooth. Stir in cream, pepper, and salt to taste and reheat soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Can be made 2 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered.

slightly adapted from Gourmet, November 2003 (originally published November 1978)
celery, onion and carrot sweated
parsley, cloves and bay leaf on cheesecloth
bouquet garni
broth and bouquet garni added
adding crumbled chestnuts
ready to blend
stirring in the cream

It's just a small amount of cream (this is not a thick soup).

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