NOTE: To use fresh chestnuts, you'll need about 11-1/2 pounds. Cut an X
through the shell on flat side. Immerse in boiling water and simmer 10
minutes. Drain, and while nuts are warm and wet, use a small knife to pull
off shell and dark membrane. Or buy peeled, cooked chestnuts canned (in
water), frozen or in shelf-stable packaging. Up to 3 days ahead, make soup,
cover and chill Reheat to serve, thinning as desired with more broth - soup
thickens on standing.
1 cup minced shallots or onions
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
about 7 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
4 cups peeled cooked chestnuts
1-1/2 tablespoons slivered fresh chives or parsley
In a 5-6 quart pan over high heat, frequently stir shallots, thyme and 1/2
cup broth until vegetables are lightly browned. Add 6-1/2 cups broth and
chestnuts. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until
chestnuts mash easily, about 30 minutes. Whirl mixture, a portion at a
time, in a blender until it is very smooth. Or, with a slotted spoon, skim
chestnuts and vegetables from broth and puree them in a food processor,
then mix with the broth in the pan. Measure soup. If you have less than 6
cups, add broth to make this amount and return to pan and stir until hot.
if you have more, boil and stir until soup is reduced. Ladle hot soup into
bowls. Season to taste and sprinkle with chives.
From: Sunset, Nov. 1998