Vermont Journal

from the B&B and around Vermont

Chestnut Soup

Stirring it up!

White bowl filled with Chestnut Soup accompanied by homemade bread.
Hearty chestnut soup. Artisan bread. What a meal!

Chestnut soup, sound interesting? Many years ago at Christmas time, I indulged in a time honoured, cold weather classic, chestnuts roasted on an open fire from a street vendor in Toronto, Ontario. They were good however I hadn’t had even one chestnut since then. On autumn day a few years ago, I saw chestnuts in the store and thought I’d try roasting them at home, not over a fire, but in a hot oven. Result… not as tasty as they were on that blustery winter day in Toronto.

The next day I decided that left-over chestnuts weren’t going to be on my list of favourite foods. Rather than compost them, I decided to experiment and see if I could create chestnut soup. I opened the pantry and and the fridge and this is what I came up with.

Ingredients for Chestnut Soup

  • 1 lb chestnuts, precookedthen roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1/4″ bits (1cm)
  • 1 largish potato, diced 1/2″ cubes (1.5cm cubes)
  • 2 c. chicken stock or vegetable stock -you can add more later if you like thinner soup
  • dried thyme, a couple of good shakes
  • salt & pepper
*NOTE 

Pre-cooking the chestnuts is necessary. Check this site for a how-to recipe. Once you’ve cooked your chestnuts you can start on my recipe.

Method:

  • In a heavy bottom saucepan, sauté the bacon bits until cooked but not quite crispy.
  • Add the red and yellow diced onions
  • Continue to sauté until the onions are soft and the bacon is crispy.
  • Add the diced potatoes, chestnuts, thyme and stock.
  • Cook on low heat until the potatoes are soft then simmer for a bit so the flavours can blend.
  • Using a hand blender, purée the soup to a smooth thick consistency. Use caution when blending the hot soup and do NOT pour hot soup into a blender or processor to purée it.
  • Serve hot chestnut soup with some bread – try the my Beer Bread recipe.

OK, you can sing now.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Jack Frost nipping on your nose…”

 

Dishing it out! 

My dad was the soup maker in our family and his experiments in making vegetable soups were renowned amongst our friends. Dad could make soup out of just about anything and it was always “terribly healthy”. Although at the time we often thought “Not soup again”, dad’s soup was always good.

Soup was served with homemade baking powder biscuits which were mixed and baked while the soup was bubbling away in the pressure cooker. Soup seemed to taste extra good after coming in from a walk on a crisp autumn day or a wintry afternoon of outdoor skating.

Large, antique blue and white 3 piece soup tureen set.
The family soup tureen.

Some years later I learned that Peter’s mum loved to make soups as well, though not quite as “experimental” as my dad’s! When we closed-up her house, what was one of the things we brought back with us? No, not a soup recipe but her large soup tureen which would probably hold enough chestnut soup to feed a very large family!

The maker’s stamp on the tureen is not clear, all I can make out is MORN though I haven’t found a reference to that through an on-line search.

While I experiment with recipes, sometimes it is a breakfast experiment for dinner though more often than not it is a homemade soup experiment for dinner for Peter and me. It’s easy to see that soup making runs in the family. Dad would be proud!

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