Thursday, November 1, 2012


What would be Fall with out chestnuts? I'd never even prepared roasted chestnuts before this dinner, and still chestnuts are always on the brain during this time of year. (Let's blame Holiday songs.) What better time than now to test something new. So I bought a handful of fresh chestnuts, roasted them myself and added them to a creamy chanterelle armagnac scented soup, and served with a warm roast vegetable winter salad. Boyfriend carved his first pumpkin too!

 Recipe for two!

Creamy Mushroom Chestnut Soup:

• Small pad of butter, for browning.
• 1 Yellow onion chopped.
• 1 Generous handfuls wild mushrooms. I used chanterelles.
• Splash Armagnac
• 6-8 Roasted chestnuts. Save a few for the salad too.
• Heavy cream.
• Chanterelle stock (or chicken or vegetable is fine.)
• Chives for garnish.

Brown onions and mushrooms until soft and, well, browned, in butter with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add splash of armagnac, then desired amount of cream and stock till it's as thin or thick as you like. We choose rather thick and creamy. (Boyfriend loves him some cream!) Add the roasted chestnuts at this point. Allow to simmer for just a minute or two. Use a blender (we have a hand blender you can use directly in the saucepan, but a regular blender is of course fine.) Mix until smooth. Done! A wonderfully elegant, grown up tasting soup.

For the warm winter salad I roasted yellow beets, carrots, red onions, and garlic. Served these on a bed of greens with the extra roasted chestnuts, with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. On the side we enjoyed a few slices of fatty delicious cured serrano ham. So tasty!

BTW, how does one roast chestnuts? Well I'm not so sure mine came out too well as I'd never done so before. (I'll share anyhow.) I first slit the outer shells in a 1" X on the backs. Steamed these for 5 minutes (to open them up a bit) then transfered the steamed chestnuts to a baking sheet and roasted for 15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius. I decided they were finished when one of them exploded in the oven. Must not have opened that one enough. When cooled, they were rather easy to peel (not.) I think I'll actually buy canned next time. (Don't say that very often!)

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