I was at our little Sunnyside market last Saturday
and I made an impulse buy of a box of chestnuts.
They seemed like a festive ingredient, but I had no
idea what I would use them for.
I think that this will make a nice starter
for our mock-Christmas dinner tomorrow night.
I'm making a Chicken with some of the fixins,
we'll be having a good amount of wine, and
a pumpkin pie.
* 1 pound fresh chestnuts
* 6 ounces cremini mushrooms
* 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 garlic clove, halved
* 8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish
* 6 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
* 2 cups water
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a paring knife,
make an incision in each chestnut about 1/8-inch deep
through the shell and into the flesh, cutting almost
all the way around nut. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast until chestnuts are tender when pierced with the paring knife,
about 35 minutes. Turn off oven. Leaving sheet in oven,
remove several chestnuts at a time. Working quickly,
place each chestnut in a kitchen towel, and remove and
discard shell and inner skin.
2. Roughly chop all but 2 cremini and 2 shiitake mushrooms.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil in a small stockpot
over medium-high. Add chopped mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown,
about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprigs.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally,
until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add all but 4 peeled chestnuts, and cook until golden,
about 5 minutes. Add stock and the water, raise heat to high,
and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until chestnuts
are falling-apart tender, about 1 hour. Remove and discard thyme sprigs,
and let soup cool slightly.
3. Pass soup through a fine sieve into a bowl; transfer solids
in batches to a food processor or blender, and puree until completely smooth.
Add strained liquid, and process 1 minute. Return soup to stockpot,
and season with salt and pepper.
4. Cut the remaining 4 chestnuts and 4 mushrooms
into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt remaining tablespoon butter
in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute sliced chestnuts
and mushrooms until crisp and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Just before serving, heat soup over low. Stir in cream,
and remove from heat. Ladle soup into shallow bowls; garnish with
sauteed chestnuts and mushrooms and the thyme leaves.