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!
from Splendid Soups//serves 8
- 5 slices bacon, cut into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 celery rib, sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 ½ pounds peeled, jarred chestnuts
- 2 quarts chicken broth or milk
- salt and pepper to tasteMethodCook 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.