Chestnut soup May 2, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Vegetables, Wolfe recipe.
The weather has turned colder recently, but not dramatically so until a couple of weeks ago. While it’s not the middle of winter yet, a few days have been cold enough that I have thought of chestnuts! I’ve never done much with chestnuts before except to eat them plain, so I was more than willing to attempt Nero Wolfe’s chestnut soup recipe.
To start with, I scored each chestnut with a knife and tossed them in a bit of oil. I put them in a 230°C oven for 10 minutes.
I took them out after 10 minutes like the recipe directed – but I would have been better leaving them longer. Some of the shells had split open properly, and some had only started to split open. This made it difficult to easily remove the chestnuts from the shells – some came apart easily while with others, I had to dig them out. As you can see, this resulted in a less than neat bowl of chestnut pieces…
Meanwhile, I prepared the rest of the soup ingredients. I chopped up leeks, carrots and an onion, added salt and pepper, and cooked them briefly in some butter.
When they had softened, I added the chopped chestnuts and 1 litre of chicken stock. I waited until it boiled, and then reduced it to a simmer. The recipe said to simmer it until the chestnuts were soft, which I estimate took about 30 minutes or so – although I wasn’t checking it closely.
Next, I removed the vegetables and chestnuts with a slotted spoon and blended them until they were smooth. In case you haven’t realised by now, I love taking blender photos – but I forgot in this case! I implore you to use your imaginations and pretend I did take a photo of the vegetables in the blender.
Once all the vegetables were blended, I returned them to the soup liquid and mixed everything around. I beat an egg yolk with some white wine and cream. The recipe called for 1 cup of cream but I used more like 1/2 cup – as I think I’ve mentioned I’m not as much of a cream fan as Nero Wolfe obviously is, and I didn’t want the soup to be overly creamy. I tempered the egg / cream mixture with some of the soup and then added the egg mix to the soup.
I mixed the soup a few more times and then it was ready to serve. I also made some buttermilk dinner rolls to eat with the soup.
And here’s a photo of the finalised soup.
Ohh this soup was good! When I was blending it, I was worried that it wouldn’t taste chestnut-y enough, and that the other vegetables would dominate. However, the chestnut came through clearly. The soup was creamy without being overwhelming (for me) and the taste of the leeks in particular complimented the chestnuts nicely. As with many of the Nero Wolfe Cookbook recipes, spices used are at a minimum. While this soup was really nice as it was, if I was making this again, I’d probably add some more spices, such as bayleaves and maybe even some cayenne pepper, to give a bit more depth to the flavours. This was a perfect soup to eat as we descend towards winter – it was comforting and filling.