Christmas has become such a special time for me. We travel to Tucson, AZ every year to visit my husband’s family. Every year I eagerly anticipate the moment we reach the desert landscape, surrounded by cactus and mountains, warmer weather and amazing food. I love experiencing the holidays through the eyes of his nephews. It’s such a fun trip. I’ll be bringing my camera this year and documenting our vacation. We leave Thursday! On to the recipe…
I grew up hearing songs about chestnuts, but had no idea what they tasted like. They’re delicious! As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect winter soup. It’s silky, rich and inviting. Serve this chestnut soup at your holiday parties and people will rave.
If you’ve never roasted chestnuts before, removing the shell and skin can be a bit of a chore. They come off easiest when the chestnuts are still hot. I like to smash the hot nuts with the side of my knife like a garlic clove. If you have a really good blender such as a Vitamix you can get away with leaving some of the skin on. It will soften during the cooking process and blend right into your puree. If you’re using a more standard blender, you may want to strain the soup through a chinois or fine mesh strainer before adding the cream.
Yields 4-6 servings
- 1 pound chestnuts
- olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
- 1/4 cup sherry, plus extra
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Using a sharp knife, cut an x into each chestnut, then roast them at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
- Peel the shell and skin away from the meat of the chestnut (this is easier to do when they're hot).
- In a dutch oven, sweat the onions, carrots and celery with a bit of salt and a bit of olive oil. Allow the veggies to soften.
- Add the chestnuts and thyme leaves.
- When the water is evaporated from the vegetables and a glaze begins to appear on the bottom of the pan, deglaze with 1/4 cup sherry.
- Add the stock and some pepper. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
- Allow the soup to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Carefully ladle the soup into a sturdy blender and puree until silky.
- Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream on low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a splash of sherry.
- Garnish with thyme before serving.