As a kid growing up in New York I loved to buy roasted chesnuts from the street vendors. There is nothing quite like fresh roasted chestnuts. I love to cook with chestnuts but really don’t like to make them from scratch.
Luckily there are some very decent vacuumed pack chestnuts that make it easy to add them to your holiday meals. These can be purchased on Amazon if you can’t find them in your local specialty shop. Here is one of my favorite winter soups. I serve it in a demi-tasse cup at large parties as a passed hors d’oeuvre with a swizzle of creme fraiche as a garnish. Chestnuts are also lovely in stuffing.
Winemaker Robert Sinsky is married to a wonderful chef, Maria Helm. For a while we subscribed to a wine club with Sinsky Vienyards which was a real treat as we always got something unique with the wine.
With the release of the 2001 Pinot Noir Maria came along some freshly harvested chestnuts and recipes. This soup is divine, simple, creamy and elegant. Perfect for the holidays. I did not see a reference to it on any of their websites so enjoy!
Maria Helm Sinsky’s Creamy Chestnut Soup
Serves 4 generously or 12 in small demi-tasse cups
1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium onion (or sliced leek), peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium stalk of celery, diced
1 1/2 cups roasted chestnuts
1 tsp. honey (light variety)
1 medium sage leaf
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
5 cups homemade chicken stock (or water)
Heat a medium pan over medium heat and add the butter. Let the butter brown a bit and then add the carrot, celery and onion (or leek) and saute until they are tender and start to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chestnuts and honey and stir until the honey is sizzling. Add the thyme and the stock to the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Using an immersion blender or a blender and puree with sage leaf. Return to the pan and bring back to a boil. If the soup is too thick, you can thin it with a bit more stock or water.
I think this soup tastes best the next day but you can certainly enjoy it straight away!