Chestnuts turned into kind of a project for me last fall as I discovered their rich history and buttery, satisfying flavor. I had pounds of chestnuts in my fridge at various points testing and tasting to find recipes that were worth the extra work of cooking with these incredibly nutritious nuts. Below, I bring you an original recipe of a hearty, tasty soup that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. It’s too much work to be a weeknight dinner but for if you’re looking for oohs and ahhs, look no further.
Makes 4-6 large servings
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, butter or bacon fat
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 cups cooked, peeled chestnuts
- 4 cups roasted pumpkin or winter squash
- One quart vegetable stock, plus additional as needed
To roast the chestnuts:
- Place the chestnuts flat side down on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut a deep score in the shape of an X through the skin on the rounded side of each chestnut.
- Place the chestnuts in a bowl of hot water for 1 minute.
- Tear a generous length of aluminum foil and place the chestnuts in a single layer. Fold the edges to form a packet with a small opening on top (while still keeping the nuts in a single layer). Place the packet on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until the edges of the chestnut shells noticeably curl up, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and peel off the shell and the skin at the X. (A paring knife can help.) Do this quickly as the shells are harder to peel when cold.
To roast the pumpkin:
- Cut open a whole pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and any loose pulp.
- Chop the pumpkin into pieces. For a smaller pumpkin, quartering it is fine.
- Place about 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on a baking tray and arrange the pumpkin pieces skin-side up. Bake at 375°F until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Scoop the meat off the skin once it has cooled.
To make the soup:
- In a cast iron Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and herbs. Slide rosemary leaves from the stalk with your fingers straight into the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes until all is heated and well-mixed.
- Use a blender or food processor to puree the soup in batches. It’s ready when it’s thick, smooth and creamy. Return to pot, taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Add additional stock if the soup is too thick.