Easy Chestnut Soup

For some reason I’ve really been wanting to cook with chestnut this year.  I have to admit that I’m intimidated to roast them myself, and they can also be a bit pricey.  Fortunately Trader Joe’s has pre-cooked vacuum-sealed packages of them that are so convenient to use and are also reasonable priced.  Aw yeah!

I started looking around online for recipe ideas and found a bunch for tasty sounding soups.  The weather has turned pretty chilly here so soup seemed like the perfect thing to make.  I was planning to do a shallot and leek base, but when I saw a container of mirepoix at Trader Joe’s, I thought I’d take the super easy route and use that instead.

Thanks to the pre-cooked/pre-cut products this soup was incredibly simple to make, but it tastes so rich and complex.  It would be an elegant soup to serve for Thanksgiving or any of the winter holidays, and you could easily double the recipe for a crowd.

Easy Chestnut Soup
serves 4 as a starter

1 tablespoon Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine
14.5-ounce container mirepoix (or about 1 cup each diced celery, onion and carrot)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Madeira wine
13-ounces (about 2 heaping cups) peeled and cooked chestnuts, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth (or 2 bouillon cubes mixed with 4 cups boiling water)
1/4 cup non-dairy cream
pinch white pepper
salt to taste

Melt the margarine in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the mirepoix and a pinch of salt, and saute until it’s softened and cooked down, about 5 to 10 minutes.  Add the minced garlic and saute for a couple minutes, or until it’s fragrant.

Add the Madeira wine, and bring to a boil.  Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the chestnuts and saute for a couple of minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, stir everything together, and partially cover the pot.  Simmer the soup for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft.

Transfer the soup to a blender, and carefully blend the mixture.  You may need to do this in batches, and depending on your blender, you may need to vent the lid.

Return the blended mixture to the pot and stir in the white pepper and non-dairy cream.  Taste for seasoning, and add salt if it needs it.  [The bouillon cubes with sea salt usually adds enough salt for my taste.]

To serve the soup, drizzle several drops of cream on top, and drag a knife through them to swirl the cream.  I also added a little bit of white truffle oil.  Enjoy!

I think I’ll try a different version of chestnut soup with shallots and maybe mushrooms, partly because I’m so excited to find inexpensive pre-cooked chestnuts.  I feel like I should take full advantage of them!  While this soup was fantastic, the amount of the carrots in the mirepoix made it a little more orange than I would have liked.  I also think that the slightly sweet chestnuts would be a great combination with earthy mushrooms.  Stay tuned for that recipe, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy this one!

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2 Responses to “Easy Chestnut Soup”

  1. Roasting is easy. If you can cook like you do then this is a snap.
    BBC recipe:

    chestnuts [any amount do not layer]

    Preheat oven to 400°F.

    cut a cross in the top each nut into the top of the flesh. Put in roasting pan and bake until skins open and insides are tender about 30 minutes [check, can vary from 10 to 30 minutes]. If you are worried about timing simply leave one nice full nut without. When that nut pops, the chestnuts are done.

    To serve place in paper bags. Peel away skin and pith [white stuff]. Eat the kernel.

  2. Oh man, I wish I had known TJ’s had precooked chestnuts before I spent three hours roasting and peeling fresh ones! Your soup sounds yummy.