Meatless Monday: Creamy Chestnut Soup

Roasted Chestnuts

For the longest time chestnuts have been somewhat of an anomaly for me. I love their subtle, nutty flavor, but have enjoyed them in dishes at restaurants, never at home. During the holidays, supermarket shelves are packed with canned and jarred chestnuts, begging you to “buy me!”.

I’ve never been one for canned goods if I can find them fresh. As much as I love canning salsas, fruit and jams, you’ll never see me handling canned vegetables. Once upon a time, dinner at my grandma’s would be some fantastic Polish meat or stew, with a side of canned vegetables du jour, cooked until they were practically flavorless mush. It might have scarred me for life.

When I walked into the coop a few weeks ago and found fresh local chestnuts staring back at me, I really couldn’t deny them any further. I brought a bag home where they sat in my refrigerator for longer than I’d like to admit. The idea of roasting the chestnuts daunted me. I knew there was sweet meat inside, just how could I get to it?

My apprehension was accurate. After roasting and prying the flesh from the warm shells, I now understand the desire to go with canned chestnuts. Those are some stubborn nuts! Luckily, after the painstaking effort of separating the nuts from their shells, the soup doesn’t need much else. Carrots, onion, celery and garlic for base, stock and a generous pour of heavy cream. Comfort in a bowl.

Creamy Chestnut Soup

Creamy Chestnut Soup (Serves 4)

  • 1lb fresh chestnuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • Sea salt
  • 1 c cream
  • Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp paring knife cut X’s on flat side of each chestnut. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet for 15-20 minutes until skin begins to peel away. Let chestnuts cool until you’re able to safely handle them. Peel away the hard shells, reserving the nut flesh in a small bowl.
In a small dutch oven heat olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, onion, garlic, celery  and a generous pinch of salt and saute until soft. Add chestnuts, broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until chestnuts are very soft, about 20 minutes. Puree until smooth. Stir in cream and additional salt and pepper as desired.

3 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Creamy Chestnut Soup

    • Peanut soup?! I love peanuts and thought I knew everything about them but I’ve never heard of such a magical thing. Now I need to find a recipe for that!

  1. I have always liked chestnuts, made them once forgot to poke holes in them before roasting and had exploding chestnuts,not a pretty sight and quite dangerous. I think your soup sounds great, creamy very elegant.

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