Cream-free Arcadian Chestnut Soup

A rich, velvety soup using chestnuts as the main ingredient that makes an excellent starter for a holiday dinner.


Preparation & Cooking time: 75'

Serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 800 gr chestnuts, boiled, peeled and mashed (you will need to buy 1.2 kg fresh chestnuts in their shells. Alternatively, you can purchase ready-boiled chestnuts)
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  •  2 l strong, homemade chicken stock (the stock needs to be rich to prevent the soup from being too sweet)
  • 200 gr fresh mushrooms of your choice, stems removed and well wiped with a wet cloth (the chef uses shitake, and wild mushrooms give the best flavor but any variety can be used)
  • 2 tbsps fresh thyme, finely chopped or 1½ tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 250 gr yogurt, strained

INSTRUCTIONS

In a medium-size pot, heat 40 ml of the olive oil over medium heat, add the chestnuts and onions, and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Add the wine, let it evaporate for 2-3 minutes, and stir in the stock. Season with salt, pepper and half the thyme, and let it simmer for about 35 minutes.

Remove from the stove and purée until creamy, either in the pot using an immersion blender or in a traditional blender working in batches; this might take 4-5 minutes. For a perfectly smooth soup pass through a fine sieve. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of stock and let it come to a boil. If it is too thin, just let it boil down until it reaches the desired consistency.

In the meantime, heat the rest of the olive oil on high heat and sauté the mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes, until they are nicely browned and all their liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with the rest of the thyme, season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

To serve: Ladle into soup bowls and top with sautéed mushrooms. Place a dollop of yogurt in the center and serve.


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