Mushroom Soup with Chestnuts and Roasted Fennel

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
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6 small fennel bulbs, stalks removed, halved lengthwise

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stem

1 pound white button mushrooms, wiped of grit and coarsely chopped

1 pound oyster mushrooms, wiped of grit and coarsely chopped

1 pound chanterelle mushrooms, wiped of grit and coarsely chopped

1 pound cooked chestnuts

3 quarts chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Fresh chopped chives, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Put the fennel halves, cut-side up, in a baking dish and drizzle with enough olive oil to come up half-way; season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until completely tender – the roasted fennel is the base of the soup, so it's important the flesh is soft enough to be cut with a spoon.
  3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium flame; add the onion and garlic, saute for 4 minutes until translucent. Toss the thyme into the pan, along with the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mushrooms give off their liquid. Add the chestnuts and cook for a few more minutes until they have some nice color on them. Remove about 1 cup of the mixture to save as a garnish for the soup.
  4. Pour the stock into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring now and then. Remove from the heat and puree the soup until completely smooth, using a handheld or regular blender. Stir in the cream to make the soup even richer, and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper.
  5. To serve: Ladle the soup into soup bowls; garnish each serving with a bit of the reserved mushrooms and chestnuts, the roasted fennel, and a sprinkle of chopped chives.
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