Chestnut Soup w Leeks and Shallots

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Years ago, I tasted Chestnut soup during restaurant week. It was so amazing and I have been trying to recreate it ever since, hopefully a slightly healthier version too.

Initially, I was actually crazy enough to purchase chestnuts, roast them and peel them. Results were phenomenal but it was incredibly time consuming and therefore not going to happen ever again for this working momma.

In come my the amazing discovery of chestnuts that area sold already roasted and peeled! Yeay! That's more like it.  There are various brands that sell and make these, I really have no preference, it's all good. The ones I bought most recently are USDA organic by a Galit.

3 bags of chestnuts 
4 cups of chicken stock (homemade or canned).
   *I used Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1-2 Leeks white parts only
2- 3 Shallots
2 tbs Grape Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp nutmeg
Thyme (a spigg of fresh if possible) or 1/2 tsp dry
Heavy Cream (1 tsp per serving)

1. Wash leeks really well as they can be sandy. Cut up shallots and leeks. Reserve a bit of leeks for garnish, you will want to pan fry these (see step 6)

2. In a large saucepan, saute chopped shallot and leeks in oil for about 6 minutes till soft. 

3. In the meantime, cut up most of the chestnuts in half. These will be used for soup. Reserve about 1/3 a cup and cut into small pieces. You will want to pan toast these for garnish (See step 5).

4. Add chestnuts halves and stock.  Bring to boil. Add thyme if fresh (else add later). Simmer about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add nutmeg and thyme if using dry. Using emersion blender, carefully blend. If too thick, add more stock and bring to boil again.

5. While the soup is simmering,  preheat small pan and add cooking spray, add small pieces of chestnut to a pan and toast about 5 minutes. 

6. Remove chestnuts, add 1 teaspoon oil and pan fry the remaining leeks till crispy about 5 minutes. 

Add about 1 teaspoon of cream on top. I do this rather than blending with cream to keep is relatively healthy. Garnish with your pan fried leeks and toasted pieces of chestnut.


*Note that if you store this soup, it gets thicker, in that case, add a little more stock when reheating.

Update: Last night I  made this soup again but I avoided adding any dairy(I also pureed all the chestnuts). Instead, I topped it with crunchy bacon. In addition, I had some chanterelle mushrooms that I needed to use up. I sauteed those in the bacon drippings (after spilling out about half). Voila! Another tasty meal!

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