Chestnut Soup

I’m not sure if these chestnuts were roasted on an open fire and frankly I do not care. My doctor advised me to start getting up and walking around a little. I’m sure that shelling chestnuts is not an activity he has in mind. But soup-making, especially when it involves little more than opening a few jars, seems like the perfect exercise.

I’m beginning to feel a bit better, actually, (knock-on-wood) and I’m itching to start back in the kitchen. This chestnut soup, so super easy, almost doesn’t qualify as “cooking” but it was easy on my back and, as I was told the other day, soup is good for everything. It was the first recipe I looked at when cracking open my newest cookbook, Splendid Soups by James Peterson. I put a lot of research into buying Peterson’s book (usually my book-buying is effortless and impromptu.) A few weeks ago, I decided I just needed to have a soup cookbook—one that would take me above and beyond my already somewhat attuned soup-making know-how. I asked on forums, I called friends to the task, I google-searched and google-searched, only to find mediocre soup “bible” tomes, ones that focused on easy, Americanized, everyman soups.

And then, a day or two after my accident, I was bored and looking up random food things on the internet, and google searched Peterson’s Sauces book—can’t remember when I first learned about this book—and (ta-da!) Splendid Soups popped up as a link somewhere down the page! If a man can write a 624-page book on sauces, I thought, this is most-definitely the soup book for me!

And it is. Splendid Soups is a 640-page, all-inclusive soup cookbook, with writing so good you can read it like a novel. There are many, many recipes I hadn’t heard of before and reading his takes on old-favorites is equally fun. The chestnut soup’s recipe was wonderful, giving optional ingredients, optional ways of preparing, so that you can tweak the soup to your own taste. I’m providing the way I went with the recipe, so if you want to see the *real* recipe, you have to buy the book (it’ll be worth it!) The soup is thinner than most of my other vegetable soups (where I usually make the recipes up, using much less liquid than is normal for them.) I tend to like a thicker, richer soup but because the main ingredient here is nuts, the thinness equalizes the rich nuts, so you are left with a rich soup that doesn’t taste rich—you’ll be surprised to be full after one bowl. If you want a richer taste, use milk instead of chicken broth, or a combination of both. I would say it’s optional to use bacon but really that option only applies if you are a vegetarian—otherwise, you have to use it!

Chestnut Soup

from Splendid Soups//serves 8


  • 5 slices bacon, cut into ΒΌ inch pieces
  • 1 celery rib, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 Β½ pounds peeled, jarred chestnuts
  • 2 quarts chicken broth or milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon until crisp in bottom of a soup pot. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate, leaving the rendered fat in the pot. In the bacon fat, cook the celery and onion until tender (but not browned.) Add the chicken broth or milk and the chestnuts. Simmer mixture until chestnuts are tender and can be smashed on the side of the pot with a fork, about 30 minutes. With a stick blender or in batches in a stand blender, puree the soup. If you want a very smooth soup, this will take a while. If you’re a real stickler for a fine consistency, pass the soup through a medium-mesh strainer. Garnish with bacon bits.

12 thoughts on “Chestnut Soup”

  1. Chestnut soup…first for me! I like making soups but ahve only tried the ‘usual’ variety so far. This one is unusual…640 pages of soups, gotta be good!

  2. I so hope you get to feeling wonderful soon!!

    the soup looks delicious – I would never have thought to make a soup with chestnuts. I love soups though and I am going to put that book on “my list.”

  3. Hi CC!

    Oh, how I love love LOVE soups. They are such a staple in my diet. I understand how you feel about searching for the “perfect” soup cookbook. It seems like once you are a decent cook, you really need to refine your cookbook purchases so that you can get something fun and new. With that in mind, however, have you looked at Soup and Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon? Soup and Bread is fabulous; I learned so much about making soups from that book. And even though I’ve had my copy for several years, I still have soups in there I want to try, so it definitely doesn’t old once you feel proficient at whipping up a pot of soup. My local library has Soup and Bread, so you might be able to borrow a copy (for free! Hurray!) from your library to check it out if you are interested.

    I’m glad you are up and about, at least a little bit. Take care of that back!


  4. Glad to hear you’re feeling a bit better! This looks wonderfully satisfying—probably just what you need.

  5. I was so sorry to read about your accident!
    Hope you’ll be on the mend soon.
    The soup looks delish- I’ll have to give it a try!

  6. Soup is something I need to get into a lot more besides just the chicken noodle and other “basics”. All I need for Valetintine’s Day: This soup book, and one of those handheld boat motors! πŸ˜‰

  7. Deb & Judy- I know! I’m going broke with my cookbook addiction!! We need separate jobs in bookstores!

    Rose-Anne- I haven’t heard of that book, but I’m about to go order it right now! Thanks!! I love recommendations!

    kitchensink- I think it was just what I needed, even if I still physically hurt, it really helps me mentally feel better!

    Thanks Gabi, you are so sweet!

    Sorina- Glad you liked it too! πŸ™‚

    LPC- This soup would be *perfect* for valentines day!

  8. I’m glad you’re beginning to feel better.

    Your blog is beginning to give me grand ideas about cooking and I don’t know whether I’m the kind of person who should be let loose in the kitchen un-aided.

    We’ll see πŸ™‚

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