As mentioned in Day 42 of The Challenge
I love chestnuts and always have. They are a marker of the season. I used to only get them at Christmas markets in little paper cones, roasted and so hot that you burn your fingers trying to peel them. And then I discovered that you could buy them and roast them at home, and even cook with them. It isn't quite chestnut season yet, although it was last week in the southern part of the country and it got me hankering for some chestnuts. This is a soup that I first tried out of my Taste of Portugal cookbook by Edite Viera, and then at a friends' place for a St Martin's Day dinner, and I loved it. The recipe from my cookbook I found at once too bland and starchy though, so I have played around since, and was very happy with today's soup!
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
Half a head of garlic, chopped
750g chestnuts (as they aren't quite in season yet, I used frozen ones)
1 tsp thyme
1 c chicken stock
2 c milk
1/2 c lemon juice
1 tsp urfa biber per bowl
chives for sprinkling
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Sauté onions briefly in oil in a soup pot. Add other veg and sauté for a few minutes more, allowing the veg to char a little.
2) Add a small amount of water (approximately 1/2c) and add the chestnuts. I allowed them to cook like this in the water until it had cooked off then, waited a few minutes before adding more liquid. This allowed the chestnuts to roast a little, releasing a delicious flavour reminiscent of cold hands and paper cones in Christmas markets.
3) Add thyme and salt and pepper, stir then add the stock and milk. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
4) When the vegetables and chestnuts are tender, blend until smooth and velvety. Add the lemon juice and dish into bowls, garnishing with chives and urfa.
This soup is silky smooth and velvety. It had just the right starch and sweetness, balanced by the deeper notes of the garlic and urfa and rounded out by the veg and the lemon juice. It is filling, so if you plan on serving this as a starter, ladle up small portions or people won't be hungry for the next course! Perfect as a lunch though. It pairs well with crispy bacon crumbled over the top or with bread on the side, but works perfectly well without either.