Yield: Makes 10 cups
- 1 leek
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
- 2 Macintosh apples, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 (32-ounce) containers chicken broth
- 3/4 pound whole chestnuts, shelled (about 2 cups nut meat)
- 1 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Toppings: sour cream, grated fresh nutmeg (optional)
- Remove root, tough outer leaves, and tops from leek, leaving 2 inches of dark leaves. Cut into quarters lengthwise. Thinly slice leek; rinse well, and drain.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, apples, celery, and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add bay leaf and next 3 ingredients; sauté 8 to 12 minutes or until apples and vegetables are tender.
- Stir in chicken broth and chestnuts. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until chestnuts are tender. Stir in cream. Discard bay leaf.
- Process leek mixture, in batches, in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan.
- Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Stir in flour until smooth; cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add flour mixture to pureed mixture. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve warm. Top with sour cream and grated fresh nutmeg, if desired.
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