Chestnut Soup

4 servings
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 pound chestnuts, roasted and shelled (or 1/2 pound. frozen chestnuts, roasted until light brown)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Trim the top off the leek, slice it lengthwise and chop it roughly. Soak the leek briefly in water to remove sand and grit, then drain. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, and butter and sweat celery and leeks in the butter until very soft DO NOT BROWN. Add the roasted chestnuts and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. If you are using frozen chestnuts, simmer for approximately 20 minutes, or until the starch begins to develop and the soup begins to thicken. If fresh chestnuts are used, simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the starch begins to develop and you can easily crush the nuts against the side of the pot with a spoon. Turn off heat and allow the soup to cool slightly, otherwise the stream from the hot soup may cause the blender to malfunction. Pour the soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender right in the pot) blend until there are no longer any large pieces of chestnut, celery and leeks and the soup is somewhat smooth. Very small pieces of chestnut should remain. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, add the cream and the port. Reduce until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup becomes too thick, adjust the consistency by adding a bit of water. The soup should be stirred well before serving, if it is in a thermos, shake it very well before pouring into bowls.

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