Soupe de châtaignes
People that know me, know that I’m a creature of habit when it comes to cooking. I like to cook things that I know and use ingredients I know how to use. I love to eat meals that bring up good memories in my mind. In restaurants I’m the same. I’m that person that wants to go to a restaurant with a kitchen that I love and I will order the dish that I know I will love from the menu. Yes, yes, I’m such a bore, but I’ve learned to love myself nonetheless. And when it comes to food, I just want to enjoy my intake.
Luckily I have lived in, and travelled to many countries and at the same time I’m surrounded by more adventurous people than myself and therefore have been forced to adjust my taste to many kitchens. Therefore one can’t really say I fall in the group ‘what the farmer doesn’t know, he doesn’t eat’ [dutch saying]. I’m a bit more flexible than that. Or maybe I’m not, I just experienced enough things to seem more flexible.
But for this reason, strange as it might sound, I’ve never eaten chestnut soup. I can’t recall eating chestnut soup at least. It always did sound appealing to me as I love chestnuts, but at the same time I can’t always appreciate what people do with perfectly fine produce, when they ‘make something into something’. In my head chestnuts can be only eaten in two ways: 1- roasted, while walking around in a city and 2 – cooked up in a huge pan of water. And then eaten around the table with the family as a dinner. Yes, plain and simple, but I like simple. I really can’t appreciate marron glacé for example. Why, why would you ruin a perfectly fine chestnut by soaking it in a massive amount of sweetness?
These things really discourage me from trying out something new. Somehow the idea of a chestnut soup stuck with me and I found the courage to try making a soup out of my beloved chestnuts. And guess what? I liked it. And when I like things, I share them with you. It’s a very simple recipe that stays pretty close to the original chestnut flavour with a hint of parsley.
I will also share a short explanation on how to make parsley pesto along with it. Not only because it tastes good along with the soup, but mostly because you always end up with a useless 1/2 bouquet after working out a recipe. With this combo, you will use up all your parsley. Isn’t that nice.
CHESTNUT PARSLEY SOUP
+ 500gr vacuum packed chestnuts (pre-cooked and peeled)
+ 1/2 bouquet fresh parsley
+ 1L vegetable stock or 1L water + 2 bouillon cubes
+ 3 onions
+ the white part of 3 big spring onions
+ 1 bay leaf
+ sunflower oil
+ salt and pepper to taste
Heat up some oil (a few tablespoons) in a soup pan. Chop the onions up in big pieces and stir them around in the oil until they turn glazy. Now add the chopped up spring onions and the chestnuts. Stir everything around. Add the branches of the parsley to the mix and then cover everything in the vegetable stock. Now you can add the bay leaf and the other part of the parsley. Let it come to a boil and let it boil for 30-40 minutes on a low fire.
Turn of the fire. Taste the soup, add some salt and pepper. TAKE THE BAY LEAF OUT. Blend everything. You will need a good blender to do this, otherwise you will end up with very present parsley fibers in your soup. Now that everything is blended, keep the soup warm on the stove and taste again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Your aromatic soup is ready to be served. You can choose to add some sour cream on top and some parsley pesto. Sidenote: some people add liquid cream to the soup, but I find it totally unnecessary as the soup is perfectly creamy by itself.
Parsley pesto ingredients
+ 1/2 bouquet parsley
+ 5 tbsp oil (I used walnut oil and sunflower oil)
+ handful of nuts (I used macadamia and cashew nuts)
+ salt & pepper
Put everything in the blender and blend it until smooth (if it’s not moist enough, add some more oil). Add a spoon of it in the warm soup and put some on a loaf of bread to go with the soup. You can leave whatever you have left in a closed jar in your refrigerator and eat it the next few days. I had some soup left from yesterdays dinner and ate it today as lunch for example with some pieces of bread. Ideal!
The moral of this recipe? It’s worth trying out new things. And… don’t mess with chestnuts!