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Chestnut Soup with Cognac Cream


Happy New Year!  Hard to believe it’s 2005!  Where did 2004 go? 

I often like to start the year snuggling in at home, maybe watching the Rose Parade and football bowl games, or sitting by the fire reading.  Sort of using the day to regroup, take a moment to enjoy and appreciate my life and think about all the adventures the new year will hold. 

An important part of the day, of course, is food.  I don’t like it to be too fussy – the day is more about simplicity – but I do want it tasty! This simple soup is flavorful, warms you inside and out and is perfect served with simple salad, a couple slices of crusty bread and your favorite glass of wine. 

Chestnut Soup with Cognac Cream (adapted from a recipe by chefs at Ste. Michelle Winery)

  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 cups chicken stock (canned is okay)
  • 22 oz (1 1/2 cans) chestnut puree* (available at DeLaurenti’s)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cognac
  • Pinch of salt

Melt butter with oil in large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add celery carrot, onion and thyme and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add stock to the pan and simmer until 30 minutes. 

Remove vegetables from broth and place in blender.  Add a small  amount of broth and blend until smooth.  Return to the pan and place over medium heat.  Add the chestnut puree* and whisk until smooth.  Bring to simmer over low heat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

While soup is heating whisk cream, Cognac and pinch of salt in medium bowl until cream is thickened but not stiff.  Set aside until soup is warm. 

Ladle soup into bowls.  Swirl a spoonful of Cognac cream into each bowl and serve. 

* Notes about chestnut puree

  1. Instead of chestnut puree you can use vacuum packed chestnuts (original recipe).  Add to the pan when you add the stock and then blend the chestnuts along with the vegetables. 
  2. The chestnut puree can sometimes be really stiff.  If this is the case run it through the blender along with the vegetables and a little stock and then heat it up. 
  3. Make sure you purchase plain puree.  Chestnut is often used in desserts so some of the puree has added sugars or corn syrup, which you do not want.  Check the ingredients carefully. 

Other Notes

  1. The soup can be made one day in advance.  Cover and chill until ready to use.  Then bring to simmer and serve.
  2. This soup also freezes beautifully!  I generally make a batch and then freeze any leftovers in bowl size portions. 
  3. I’ve been meaning to try this with beef stock instead of chicken.  The soup already is very hearty tasting and almost has a beefy flavor.  I think the beef stock might really enhance this. 
  1. Tyler permalink
    01-Jan-2005 12:55 pm

    I have enjoyed your blog and have added a link to your Site to my MSN Spaces. I hope you have a chance to check out a recipe or two that I have published.Thanks and Have a Great New Year!

  2. Culinary permalink
    02-Jan-2005 9:30 am

    Thanks, Tyler! I took a quick look at your site and it looks great, too! I always love looking at tried and true recipes. I\’ll add your site on my list in the next day or so – I\’ve been meaning to add a few others, too, so this will give me a bit of motivation!B


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