Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nuts to Soup | Roasted Chestnut Soup with Thyme Cream


ChestnutSoup3 ChestnutSoup3-1.jpg



I never imagined that I'd be making soup from nuts -- I always thought of nuts as an additive, a very nice additive, but not the main part of anything, except for snacking. (And maybe my favorite pistachio ice cream.) But I've learned that chestnut soup is a very traditional fall soup, and a staple at many a Thanksgiving table.

It's a great soup.  It's rich, smooth and creamy, without cream. It gets its richness straight from the sweet chestnuts, which, I also learned is low in calories and has all kinds of other good things going for them, like they're the only nut that has Vitamin C. And they're gluten-free.

The only bad thing I can say about this recipe is that roasting and peeling the nuts is a bit of a chore. But it's worth the effort and certainly can be done ahead of time.

We're lucky to have a neighbor who gave us a couple chestnut tree saplings that finally bore fruit last year.  This was not a good year for our own trees but our neighbor still shared some of his.

[chestnuts%2520cu%255B5%255D.jpg]
The original recipe called for bottled chestnuts, which I've never even looked for in a store.  But at this time of year, chestnuts show up in many produce departments.

I  first posted this recipe about a year ago when I guest posted at Eat Yourself Skinny.  And I realized I never posted it here. So here you go . . . .

ChestnutSoup-1 ChestnutSoup-1.jpg

Roasted Chestnut Soup with Thyme Cream
adapted from Cooking Light
makes 10 servings

3 cups whole roasted (or bottled) chestnuts
2 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
5/8 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sherry (optional)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare the chestnuts.  Cut an X in the bottom of each chestnut. Place chestnuts on a jelly-roll pan and bake for 15 minutes.  Place chestnuts in large bowl and cool to room temperature. When cool enough to handle, peel the shells from the chestnuts.  (If you can find bottled or vacuum packed chestnuts, no need for this step!)

Prepare the puree.  Combine onion, carrot and oil on same jelly-roll pain.  Toss to coat the vegetables.  Bake for 1/2 hour or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add the chestnuts in bowl and stir in broth.  Pour half the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour the pureed mixture into a large pot.  Repeat procedure with remaining broth mixture.  Or, if you're lucky enough to have an immersion blender, put everything into the large pot and puree it all at once in the pot.  Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Place pot over medium high heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add the sherry, if you like.

Prepare the whipped cream.  Place cream in medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.  Add remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and beat at high speed until stiff peaks form.

Serve.  Ladle soup into bowls and top serving with about a teaspoon of whipped cream.  Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

38 comments:

  1. This is one of those keepers with thanksgiving coming this would be a hit for sure what a great recipe... nice one

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. So rich and elegant -- but it's not fattening!

      Delete
  2. Nut soup? A refreshing idea no doubt which I would love to try, looks exquisite :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tastes even better than pumpkin or squash soup. I loved it.

      Delete
  3. Yum! I've never cooked with chestnuts, much less made soup! This sounds wonderful,looks like we're both in the soup mood today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm a soup girl, too, and your arugula-spinach soup is right up my alley!

      Delete
  4. I adore nuts...and this recipe looks awesome. Nuts become so deliciously creamy when cooked and pureed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first time I made this, I was surprised just how creamy the soup became, with no cream!

      Delete
  5. I've always wanted to try a chestnut soup, Rosemary, so thanks for that. They are not very common trees in Ireland (although the inedible horse chestnut is one of my favourite autumn trees) but I will look out for them as I am dying to try this recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lot like pumpkin soup, but with a subtle richness to it. I just wish our trees would have been as plentiful as they were last year. (At least enough for a soup!)

      Delete
  6. This is the soup and chestnut season! Looks really creamy and irresistible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angie, I just love that the creaminess comes from the nuts, not cream!

      Delete
  7. I love Roasted Chestnuts... can't wait to try this soup. It looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that I've tried this soup a few times (and I already knew I liked roasted chestnuts) I think I'll have to try chestnut stuffing.

      Delete
  8. I love chestnuts just by munching on it, perfectly roasted. I make just about every kind of soup but have never made chestnut soup. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your beautiful and delicious soup recipe. You can easily find chestnuts in a jar at Whole Foods!...not cheap, but well worth it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've also found that making a little slit in each chestnut and microwaving them for 30 seconds makes a great snack (when you don't want to roast them!)

      Delete
  9. What a pretty soup Rosemary. I've never made a soup from nuts either, although I know the phrase from soup to nuts :) Thank you for the inspiration.

    This soup would make a wonderful sophisticated first course for Thanksgiving dinner.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sam. You know if we ever get to the point where we have a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone's not expecting their two potatoes, stuffing, gravy, desserts and more desserts, I'm putting this on the menu!

      Delete
  10. oh nice looking soup never tried chestnut soup would love to try it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's kinda like squash or pumpkin or sweet potato or pumpkin . . . but different! ANd good!

      Delete
  11. What a gorgeous soup, Rosemary! I think I'll go for the ready to cook with jarred chestnuts :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm thinking I should find some jarred chestnuts and have them ready in the pantry, too, Lizzy.

      Delete
  12. Rosemary, we brought back a lot of chestnuts from Italy, already out of their fuzzy shells and ready to roast. I'll share this recipe with my mother and will try to make this for the holidays! It sounds perfectly heavenly! Thank you for sharing your recipe and photos!

    Ciao,
    Roz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Imported chestnuts! I do hope you make this soup, Roz. I'd love to hear how you and your family like it!

      Delete
  13. so warm and comforting and packed with fall flavor, yum!
    (and pistachio ice cream is such a fabulous nut recipe - agreed!)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Again you did it …..make my mouth water!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my! That looks amaaaaaazing :) I'm loving that thyme cream

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeppir, that thyme cream added just the right touch.

      Delete
  16. I have never had chestnut soup but I am dying to try it. It is not something that we particularly have in Mexico (or that was popular while I was living in the UK). I think I will switch the carrot for roasted pumpkin (given that I have some leftover from pie ;) )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never tried a nut soup before either. And it is a lot like carrot soup; just richer.

      Delete
  17. I've never imagined that I'll make a soup from nuts too, and now I will. What an adventure :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ilove to try new things; this one was a definite success!

      Delete
  18. I have eaten chestnuts but never had them in a soup...I'm sure it was delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was good;you should give it a try!

      Delete
  19. I tried it with the vacuum packed "cooked and peeled" chestnuts from the grocery store. I found it too watery and grainy. Next time I will try the raw uncooked nuts and see if I get a better result. Thank you for this wonderful idea! we will make it a new tradition for Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since I've only made the soup with roasted chestnuts, I don't know how uncooked nuts would be. But they're a rather soft nut to start with, so it just might work!

      Delete

I realize you don't have to take the time to comment . . . but it makes my day! So glad you decided to stay.