Sunday, December 28, 2008

chestnut soup

And while we're talking winter soup, here's another one: chestnut soup! Inspired by the smooth-as-velvet, froth-topped bisque from NYC's Cafe Sabarsky, and adapted from a NYT recipe by Mark Bittman, this is very easy and tastes much richer and more luxurious than its simple ingredients would lead you to believe.

Chestnut Soup

12 to 15 fresh whole chestnuts
[or 12-15 peeled whole vacuum-packed or jarred chestnuts]
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 branch thyme
4 or 5 sprigs of parsley, minced
1/2 cup dry sherry or madiera
3 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp creme fraiche
4 or 5 crimini mushroom caps, sliced and sauteed in butter until tender and browned

To prepare whole chestnuts, cut an "x" in the skin of each chestnut with a sharp knife. Roast at 325F until the meat is tender and the skin dries out and curls back. Peel chestnuts while still hot, otherwise skin will stick to the nut.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Saute onion, garlic, carrot, and parsnip, stirring, until tender. Add crumbled chestnuts and sherry, and cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add herbs and chicken broth, a little salt (depending on the saltiness of the broth) and simmer gently for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then puree in a blender. Taste for seasoning, adding more sherry as needed. Return to the pan and warm gently. Top with a spoonful of creme fraiche and a few slices of mushroom.

This went very nicely with a green-and-pink salad from the mystery box: crunchy little gem lettuces, shredded radicchio, and sliced watermelon radishes, in an apple-and-mustard dressing of olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, and a little rosemary-apple compote.

3 comments:

Jill Bloomfield said...

Hi--

Sorry to leave a comment, but I could not find contact information for you. I have been meaning to make contact for a couple weeks. You posted comments to an article in the Well Blog in The New York Times about kids' cookbooks and the need that they be more substantial than most of the junk out there. I fully agree, and am also a kids' cookbook author.

I love your blog---I will make it a regular read.

Best,
Jill

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'Megan' said...

Chestnut soup is wonderful. My mum makes it from scratch every Christmas, it's so rich and perfect for winter.