I make this delicious soup once a year at Thanksgiving. It’s a bit of a production and quite rich, but well worth the time, effort, and calories. For a real showstopper, serve the soup in a hollowed out fresh pumpkin soup tureen, or serve in individual hollowed out acorn squash shells. Best wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving with all your loved ones!
In a skillet large enough to hold the chestnuts, melt 4 tablespoons of the margarine or olive oil. Place the chestnuts in the skillet and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
In a large soup pot, melt the remaining margarine or olive oil, and sauté the onions, carrots, and celery root for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent, but not browned.
Add the chicken or vegetable broth to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, then add the chestnuts, Madeira, bouquet garni, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cover the pot and simmer all ingredients for about 25 minutes until the chestnuts and vegetable are soft.
Place a sieve over a large bowl. Pour all soup ingredients into the sieve, straining out the chestnuts and vegetables and pouring the chestnut broth into the bowl.
Immediately remove the bouquet garni making sure that you have also removed both bay leaves.
Place about 1/3 of the strained chestnuts and vegetables into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree the chestnuts and vegetables, adding the strained broth with a soup ladle to thin the puree to soup consistency.
Place chestnut puree back into a soup pot. Repeat this process with all the strained chestnuts and vegetables, adding strained broth as necessary to get the soup to the desired consistency.
You may have some broth left over. Make sure to save and refrigerate it. You may need it to thin the soup if you’re planning on serving it the next day. The soup tends to thicken with time.
You can make this soup up to three days in advance. It improves in flavor after a stay in the refrigerator allowing all the great flavors to commingle.
When you are ready to serve the soup, place in soup pot and reheat to a simmer.
If desired, ladle the soup into hollowed out acorn squash shells for individual servings, or use a large, hollowed out pumpkin as a soup tureen (see photo)****
Garnish the soup with snipped chives.
Makes 12 servings.
Essex Fells Magazine