To me fall is the perfect time for making soup – from hearty main courses to veggie soups served as a starter or for lunch. The theme for our recent Gourmet Dinner Club (GDC) gathering was fall vegetables and I was assigned a side. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try out a new soup recipe. And, I’m pleased to say that I found a very good one.
At first taste you would be hard pressed to identify the main ingredients of carrots and chestnuts. It wasn’t until Ed was about halfway through a bowl that he really tasted the carrots (he had a preview prior to our GDC dinner). It’s a lovely combination that creates a very flavorful and creamy soup – all without any dairy except for the finishing dollop of creme fraiche.
I had never cooked with chestnuts before. I took a shortcut and bought Melissa’s Chestnuts which were already cooked and peeled. All I needed to do was roast them for ten minutes in the oven. I recommend this route. Don’t forget to leave a few chestnuts for the garnish – it adds a bit of “crunch” to the soup.
This soup is perfect as part of a simple dinner or a special holiday meal (think Thanksgiving). And, it freezes well, so you can make it ahead of time.
Wine Pairing: Grüner Veltliner from Austria (white)
|Roasted Carrot and Chestnut Soup|| || |
- 3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 shallots, minced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¾ cup (5.5 ounces) chestnuts, roasted and coarsely chopped (for soup base)
- 6-8 ounces creme fraiche
- 1 ounce chestnuts, roasted and finely chopped (for garnish)
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
- In a bowl, combine the carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until the carrots are tender and golden around the edges, 45 to 50 minutes.
- In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring, until tender and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the carrots, stock, ginger, allspice and chestnuts and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Using a Vitamix, immersion hand blender, regular blender or food processor, purée the soup in batches until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Garnish each serving with a dollop of creme fraiche and sprinkling of chestnuts and parsley.
- Serves 6.
* If you don't have an immersion hand blender, I highly recommend getting one. You may not use it all the time, but when you need it you will be so happy to have it. It makes recipes like this a breeze as you blend the food in the same pot you use to cook.
Source: Variation of a recipe from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen (website)