Thursday, May 28, 2009

Apple & Chestnut soup

Still enjoying the bounty of chestnuts that we gathered a couple of weeks back, I turn my attention to soup on cold days.
After countless hours spent burning my fingers in a hopeless attempt to shell whole chestnuts, I gave up and went for a recipe that would require them to be pureed, hence all I had to do was score the nuts, boil them for 10-15mins, cut them in half and scoop out the goodness inside. Brilliant. No more ruined fingernails, missing thumbprints and irritation as the insides crumble. Bliss.
I came across the recipe in a few different forms online- but this final version is a tweaked version all my own, utlising local and seasonal produce- the best kind! It's a beautiful dish for a cold night and looks lovely garnished with crumbled roasted chestnut pieces.

Apple & Chestnut Soup:
  • 2T butter
  • 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 sundowner apples, cored and diced (I leave the skin on)
  • 250grms of peeled chestnuts- roasted for 5mins in a dry frypan untill golden
  • A sprig of fresh thyme (or a pinch of dried)
  • 1L chicken stock (home made is best)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, toss in diced turnip and chopped celery. Cook until browning, about 5mins. Add the thyme and stir until fragrant (1min).
Add the chopped apples and cook for a further 5mins, or just until apple is nice and soft. Add the roasted chestnuts (reserve some for garnish) and toss through. Then add 1L chicken stock bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer for 10mins. Check to make sure turnip is cooked soft, then remove from heat and puree till smooth. Serve hot and garnish with the reserved roast chestnut pieces and a sprig of thyme. Very satifying when you have had enough of trying to shell whole roasted chestnuts.
*Note: when you puree the hot liquid, make sure that there is a place for the steam to escape to avoid buildups of steam or explosions of hot liquid- ouch. 

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