The Foodist: Chestnut and Pumpkin Soup
This The Foodist: Chestnut and Pumpkin Soup recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper! You have not lived until you have tasted the decadent luxury of a roasted chestnut in a soup. This soup is filled with flavor and is good in any configuration is good.
This is another banger recipe from “The Soups of France” by Lois Anne Rothert. Buy this book! It is one of the best investments we have made here at Mezzacello.
Here at Mezzacello we believe this book should be in the library of every urban garden or homestead garden in America. French food is so delightful with access to the freshest ingredients. It can’t be fresher than growing the vegetables, herbs, eggs, and meats yourself.
- 2 Pounds fresh chestnuts, or 1 pound canned whole peeled chestnuts
- 1 Pound peeled pumpkin flesh
- ¼ Cup unsalted butter
- 1 Large waxy potato, peeled and sliced
- 1 Young, slender carrot, peeled and finely diced
- ½ Celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 Slender leek, white and pale green parts only, finely minced
- 1 Small onion, finely diced
- 1 Clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 Bay leaf
- 6 Cups broth from chicken -in-the-pot recipe, or homemade chicken broth, or as needed
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 6 Cups milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- If using fresh chestnuts, slit on the Nlat side with a knife tip and place in a saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Remove only a few chestnuts at a time from the hot water and leave them until they have cooled slightly and can be handled. (Chestnuts are easier to peel when still warm.) Remove both the outer shells and the inner furry coating. Reserve some whole peeled chestnuts for garnish. If using canned chestnuts, drain well.
- Cut the chestnuts into morsels. Cut the pumpkin into ¾-inch cubes; you should have 2 cups. Heat the butter in a heavy 4-quart soup pot over low heat. Add the chestnuts, potato, carrot, celery, leek, onion, garlic, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the butter is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin, 6 cups chicken broth, salt, and milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and discard. Working with 1 or 2 ladlefuls at a time, purée the soup in a blender or food processor, processing each batch for 20 to 30 seconds until smooth. Strain the soup through a sieve; it should have the consistency of thick cream. If the soup is too thick, dilute with additional broth. Return the purée to the soup pot and reheat.
- Taste and add more salt if needed and black pepper and nutmeg to taste. Ladle the soup into heated soup plates and garnish with the reserved whole chestnuts and croûtons.
If you are buying fresh chestnuts, buy domestic ones. They tend to break apart easily, so they are suitable for preparing soups like this that are to be puréed.
Buy fresh chestnuts that are fat, hard to the touch, and have a brilliant skin. If you want, replace chestnuts with cashews.
This soup is ideal for family and guests in autumn and winter when chestnuts and pumpkins appear in the markets. Rich, colorful, and symbolic of harvest, this dish is an ideal opener for Thanksgiving dinner.