GERMAN CHESTNUT SOUP
It’s winter and depending on how you look at it winter-time epitomizes either a soul-destroying white desert for fresh seasonal produce or a winter wonderland of unique seasonal goodies. I choose the latter of course because there are some things that I simply must take advantage of while they are still around. Today I am showcasing chestnuts because they are so evocative of cosy winter nights, not to mention that the markets are brimming with barrels of these shiny plump nuts that I liken to teddy bear noses -- I get uncharacteristically kitschy around this season, my apologies.
I first discovered this flavourful and warming chestnut soup recipe in my bible for authentic German cooking entitled Die echte deutsche Küche by Susi and Pete Eising, and I love it so much I cannot resist sharing it. Chestnuts, they are not just for roasting on an open fire!
Check out my video on how it's done!
GERMAN CHESTNUT SOUP
500 g chestnuts
1.5 L beef stock, best if home-made
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. butter
1.5 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
50-75 ml cream (or to taste)
salt and pepper
a dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven at 225C or 450 F
- Using a sharp pairing knife, slit an X on the flat side of each chestnut (this is to prevent them from bursting and to ensure they cook through)
- Place the chestnuts on a baking tray, slit side up, and bake for about 15 min. or until the shells burst open
- Let the chestnuts cool before you peel them
- Place your peeled chestnuts in a pot and cover with about ½ L of beef stock
- Bring the pot to a simmer and let the chestnuts cook until softened, around 15 -20 min.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan, sweat the onions in the butter until translucent, then add to your pot
- Once the chestnuts are softened in their stock, purée everything until smooth and silky, then set aside
- In another pot, bring the remaining 1 L of stock to a boil, add your very finely chopped carrot and celery, then simmer on medium heat for about 10 min.
- Add the cream to the stock, followed by the puréed chestnuts, season well with salt, pepper and a dash of grated nutmeg
- Top with some more cream and finely sliced roasted chestnuts
TIP: for a wonderful homemade beef stock, roast a few beef bones in the oven, then transfer to a large pot of water with a carrot, an onion or leek, and a celery stick. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 1-2 hours.