Savory Chestnut Soup Recipe
Menu Makers with Chef Jennifer Jasinski
This soup combines the sweetness and meatiness of the chestnut with earthy mushrooms and sage. Just the right amount of cardamom perfectly accents this soup. It is my hope that you will taste the balance of all the ingredients so that as you take a sip, you notice how the mushroom, sage and spices are all in harmony. I love to serve this soup at Thanksgiving in a large scooped-out pumpkin. It is a natural soup terrine and a great conversation piece. First, ladle boiling hot water into a large, cleaned pumpkin. Then pour it out so it is hot inside and does not chill your soup. If you are using small pumpkins for individual servings, you can bake them so your guests can scoop out the pumpkin and enjoy it with the soup in each bite.
SAVORY CHESTNUT SOUP serves 8
1/4 cup pure olive oil
1 1/4 cups sliced onions
1/4 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 cups sliced domestic mushrooms
10 sage leaves (no stems)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
12-14 ounces whole peeled chestnuts*
1 1/4 cups white wine
6 cups vegetable stock
1 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon finely ground cardamom
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
ASSEMBLY AND PLATING
8 small Wee B pumpkins, 1 large pumpkin or 8 small butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
*I suggest Frozen IQF (individually quick frozen) chestnuts that are already peeled. You can get them through your specialty foods market or Earthy Delights 800-367-4709. (www.earthy.com)
We serve this soup in either a roasted Wee B pumpkin or a scooped-out butternut squash). For multiple people at a party, use a large pumpkin and put all 8 orders into the pumpkin. Select fruits that are firm but not completely hard. If your fingernail can’t cut the skin of the pumpkin, then your teeth probably can’t either. You can serve in a bowl if you do not want to do the pumpkin.
SOUP: In a large stockpot or saucepot, add the pure olive oil and the sliced onions and garlic cloves. Sauté these until they are translucent, being careful not to color.
Add the mushrooms and all the aromatics (sage, peppercorns and bay leaf). Sauté this until the mushrooms have softened.
Add the chestnuts to the pan and then deglaze with the wine. Cook until the wine has reduced completely and add the vegetable stock. Raising the heat as needed, bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer on very low for about 45 minutes.
Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom and cream and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. The chestnuts should be very soft by now. Take the soup off of the fire and transfer it to a blender; remove cinnamon stick and blend until it is smooth. Season with the salt, pepper and sugar and then strain through a china cap. Serve immediately or chill to serve later.
ASSEMBLY AND PLATING: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the tops off of the pumpkins, clean out the insides and brush with the olive oil. Season the insides with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan and roast in the 350-degree oven until the flesh of the pumpkins can be removed easily with a fork or spoon, depending on ripeness). Be careful not to roast so completely that the skin and flesh of the pumpkins become weak and fragile, as this will make it difficult to use as a serving bowl.
Heat up the soup as needed and serve it in warm, hollowed-out roasted pumpkins. Be sure to eat the flesh of the pumpkin as well.
1431 Larimer Street
Chef Jennifer Jasinski