My first recipe is my absolute favourite – Chestnut Soup – and comes from an old copy of Jamie magazine (Jamiemagazine.com issue 14 Nov Dec 2010). I should have shared this before Christmas as it does have a festive feel but it’s really good for the winter months, regardless of occcasion.
One of the reasons that I’m sharing it just now is because my friend ‘W’ has promised to cater for a get together using one of my soup recipes. I don’t think I’m being unkind by saying she’s not really an intuitive cook (sorry W!) so I went for something easy and hope my notes on the original recipe help. (My notes are in brackets).
Serves 6 – 8 (magazine recipe says 8, I’d say 6 so there is an extra wee spoonful or two to go around)
Difficulty Very easy (according to the entirely made up One Soup at a Time scale)
- A knob of butter (about the size of the top of your thumb)
- 2 onions, chopped (you can buy pre-chopped onions to save time, you can get them in the freezer cabinet or fresh in prepped veg)
- 1 garlic clove, finely sliced (I just use a heaped teaspoon of lazy garlic)
- 2 celery sticks, chopped (buy a snack pack if you don’t like celery, that way you won’t have too much left over and if you get a snack pack, go for 5 wee sticks)
- 1 large potato, diced (large = baking potato)
- 400g vacuum packed chestnuts (you should get them in most supermarkets and delis – just ask where they are kept)
- 1 to 1.2 litres of vegetable stock (I tend to use 1 litre as I like it to be as thick as possible)
- 1 bay leaf
- 150- 200 ml of single cream (it’s fine without cream too)
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and celery until it is soft but not coloured.
- Add the potato, vegetable stock, bay leaf and all but 4 of the chestnuts.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (I never add any as I don’t think it needs it but I don’t like a lot of salt so taste and decide for yourself).
- Bring to the boil and them simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf.
- (It looks awful before it is blitzed, really awful DO NOT BE DETERRED – KEEP GOING – IT WILL BE FINE).
- Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
- If you are using the cream, add it now and return to the heat but do not boil.
- (See – it looks good now).
- Crumble the four remaining chestnuts on top and serve.
I often make large batches and freeze. I’m not sure how long it keeps for but I’ve stored for over 3 months and it hasn’t deteriorated in any way.
It really is fine without cream. I use cream if I’m serving on Christmas Day or for guests but don’t bother otherwise.