Chestnut soup

This is the soup we ate on Christmas Eve, made by my cousin Nicole who had lived most of her life in Paris (France) and moved back to Lebanon recently. One taste of that soup and I knew I would make it that week, it is that heavenly. 

Read interesting stuff on chestnuts. Apparently North America had over 4 billion chestnut trees last century and they were all wiped out by a fungus. Now most chestnuts are imported from Italy or China or Korea. 

Chestnuts are much lower in fat than all other nuts, including almonds; chestnuts contain vitamin C, no gluten, no cholesterol and almost no fat. 

If you search a bit, you’ll find imported chestnut flour and you can use it to bake cakes or cookies, if you want to avoid gluten.

Here is Nicole‘s recipe for the best soup I had in 2012.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 lbs of chestnuts (I used canned chestnuts, peeled)
  • 1 white onion or 4 shallots
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt, pepper, dash of nutmeg 
  • Bouillon cube (veal, chicken) or homemade chicken or veal broth
METHOD:
  1. Heat the oil and fry the onion or shallots till golden; drop the drained chestnuts in the pot and pour the wine and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Add 6 cups of broth or water and the bouillon cube and simmer the soup for 40 minutes. Purée in a blender and place back in the pot; add the whipping cream and the spices and simmer for a few minutes longer; taste, adjust seasoning and serve. 
NOTE: I thickened the soup with some cornstarch. Add 1/4 cup of cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup of water to the soup as it simmers at the end of cooking, stir and let it thicken.
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12 Comments

  1. Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Fried in batter eggplant is always such a treat. I usually have it with a tamarind dipping sauce but that’s the beauty of following various blogs you always get new ideas. I must say yogurt dipping sauce sounds perfect!

  2. Posted December 28, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    This is a lovely soup. I love the flavor of chestnuts and can imagine how creamy and silky it must be. Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Alaiyo

  3. Nadege
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I love chestnuts but never had a chestnut soup. What a great idea, particularly during this time of the year!

  4. Posted December 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    hmmy, that does look yummy – must have a go sometime. Wishing you a happy new year!

  5. Posted December 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Never thought to have chestnut soup – what a deep flavor this must have!

  6. Posted December 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Since you have to puree this anyway, I wonder if you could start out making this with chestnut flour. I have some of that at home. If I try it, I’ll let you know! Thank you!
    ~Trudy

  7. Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The best soup of 2012 is quite an endorsement! This looks like a wonderful soup for a special occasion.

  8. Posted January 4, 2013 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    I love this! And I have so many packets of sousvide and canned chestnuts in my cupboard since last year I was wondering what to do with them. This is perfect! Great flavors… and a nice wintery change from only desserts with chestnuts. Happy new year, dear Joumana!

  9. Posted January 4, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Délicieusement de saison cette soupe gourmande….

  10. Posted January 9, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I love chestnuts and living in Italy I have very easy access to them and all related products. I did not however know all the facts you listed. Interesting information, thanks Joumana.

  11. Karla Taouil Baaklin
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I love your blog and I’m always following it. I wonder if there would be any changes if I don’t use the canned chestnuts for this soup. Thanks!

  12. Joumana
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    @Karla: You mean if you use the fresh chestnuts? No, same thing! It is a really easy soup, just taste and adjust the amount of cream .

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