I first enjoyed this soup in France, where the matriarch of the family with which I lived prepared it with fresh-roasted chestnuts from a street vendor. Upon arrival home in the United States, I had difficulty finding fresh chestnuts but discovered that unsweetened canned chestnut puree is a fantastic substitute (and a lot less labor-intensive). Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 30 minutes; Cool: 15 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 (7.4-ounce) jars whole roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped*
- 1/4 cup Marsala
- 1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1. Melt butter in a large saucepan; add onion and celery, and sauté 4 to 6 minutes or until tender. Add chestnuts, and sauté another 2 minutes. Add Marsala, and scrape pan to deglaze. Add chicken broth and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.
- 2. Process soup in a blender, in batches, until smooth. Return to saucepan, stir in nutmeg, and bring to a simmer. While soup reheats, fill a soup tureen with boiling water, and let warm for several minutes; drain tureen. Transfer hot soup to warmed tureen, and serve.
- *For testing purposes, we used Minerve brand whole roasted chestnuts.
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