#1 Roasted Chestnut Soup with Thyme Cream
Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 2 hr Total Time 2 hr 15 min
3 cups whole roasted bottled chestnuts
2 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place chestnuts on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Place chestnuts in a large bowl; cool to room temperature.
3. Combine onion, carrot, and oil on pan; toss to coat vegetables. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add to chestnuts; stir in broth. Pour half of broth mixture into a blender; blend until smooth. Pour pureed mixture into a Dutch oven. Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place pan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
4. Place cream in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt; beat at high speed until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Ladle about 3/4 cup soup into each of 10 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon cream. Sprinkle with thyme. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Myrecipes.com
#2 CHESTNUT SOUP WITH BACON AND CHIVES
Makes 8 servings
TOTAL TIME 1 hour
4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced (about 4 ounces)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 small leek (white and light-green parts only), split lengthwise and sliced (about 1 cup)
2 small shallots, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
1 15-ounce jar whole roasted chestnuts
1/2 cup heavy cream
Crème fraîche, snipped chives, and grated nutmeg, for garnish
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In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook bacon until rendered and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the fat. In the same saucepan, melt the butter, and add the carrot, celery, leek, and shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until softened and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add broth and chestnuts to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook until all the ingredients are soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, and purée in batches in a blender until very smooth. Return to saucepan, add the cream, and heat thoroughly, adding stock to thin if needed. (A spoon should not leave a trail on the surface of the soup.)
Season with salt and pepper and ladle into warmed shallow bowls. Garnish with the reserved bacon, a dab of crème fraîche, chives, and a pinch of nutmeg.
The soup base can be made completely ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat, adding the cream just before serving.
#3 Silky Chestnut Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups cooked chestnuts (from one 14.8-ounce vacuum-packed jar)
1 cup ruby port
1 thyme sprig
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a medium sauce-pan. Add the carrot, celery and onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for 4 minutes. Add the port and thyme and cook over moderately high heat until the port is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig.
Add the cream to the soup. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
A tart California sparkling wine will contrast with this creamy soup.
#4 CHESTNUT SOUP WITH BACON AND THYME CROUTONS
7 oz (200 g) cooked and peeled whole chestnuts
1 stick of celery, trimmed and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
2 pints (1.2 litres) ham or vegetable stock
salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the croutons:
1 rasher bacon, derinded and very finely chopped
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 oz (110 g) stale white bread, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil
To make the soup, you simply place all the ingredients in a large saucepan, season lightly with salt and pepper, bring up to simmering point, then put a lid on and simmer very gently for 45 minutes.
While that’s happening, you can prepare the croutons. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the bacon gently for 5 minutes, then turn the heat up to its highest setting, add the cubes of bread, together with the thyme, and toss them around (keeping them constantly on the move) until they, and the bacon, have turned a deep golden brown colour and become very crisp and crunchy. Turn them out on to some absorbent kitchen paper.
Then, as soon as the soup is ready, allow it to cool slightly, then transfer it to a blender and purée until smooth. You may need to do this in more than one batch, in which case, it is a good idea to have a bowl to put the soup in as it is ready. Re-heat the soup in the pan, season to taste and serve in warmed soup bowls, with the croutons, bacon and thyme sprinkled over.
How to Cheat Hero Ingredient
1 x 200 g pack Merchant Gourmet cooked and peeled whole chestnuts.