Tuffy P found a recipe for chestnut soup and suggested we have it tonight for dinner. I’ve never made chestnut soup before, but that didn’t stop me from more or less ignoring the recipe and making it up as I went along (my usual approach). Here’s how I did it.
The recipe suggested that if I cut two slits in an X shape in each chestnut then put them in a pot with cold water, then brought the water to a boil, the shells and skins would peel off no problem. That plan didn’t work very well at all. Maybe if I kept them in the boiling water a little longer it would have been more successful. Alternatively, maybe if I roasted the chestnuts for a while, I would be able to get them prepped easier. Suffice it to say that it was a time consuming task to get the chestnuts cleaned up, but I got the job done.
OK let’s see, what other prep did I do? I had some dried Italian porcini so I dropped a small handful into a bowl of water to reconstitute. Then I chopped a red onion, a big carrot, some garlic, a zucchini and quite a few cremini mushrooms. I poured a little really good olive oil into a heavy bottom pot and heated it up. The rest is easy….
I added the onions to the pot first, added a little salt, and after a minute added the garlic and then the carrots, and after another couple minutes, the chestnuts and the rest of the veggies. I had planned to add some fennel seeds, but I couldn’t find them in the pantry so instead, I used a little dried basil, and also a tiny amount of dried hot chile flakes. I let it all cook together for a few more minutes, then added about 1.5 litres of stock. By this time, the porcinis were soft so I tossed them in too. Then I bound together some sprigs of thyme with kitchen twine and tossed it in, put the lid on and let it simmer. I cooked it until the carrots were done, then used an immersion blender to puree the whole business.
We served the soup with some fresh chives chopped in and some insanely fresh pumpernickel we bought this afternoon. We added some fresh ground pepper at the table. This soup is astonishingly good.