Thursday, March 5, 2009

chestnut-apple soup

chestnut apple soup

While winter is quickly receding and signs of spring are beginning to emerge (or so I hope), I still want you to go and make this soup. As soon as possible. Tonight even perhaps. I’m sure you had a nice dinner planned, but it’ll have to wait – this soup is worth it. I promise you, you’ll thank me later. After you lick the bowl clean.

chestnut apple soup

To say I build my entire dinner around it on Oscar night, would be an understatement. This soup alone made me want to throw a smallish dinner party for a few close friends and since I couldn’t invite people over just to serve them soup and call it a day, I had to come up with the rest of the menu. But this is the soup that started it all. Oh, and we ate this for dessert. It’s a tough existence, I know.

chestnut apple soup

Some people are huge fans of sweeter soups and if you are, you will love this. But I know those who like their soups savory, won’t be able to resist the earthiness of the chestnut perfectly complemented by the apple. A few thyme leaves add some color and contrast to the flavors. The soup comes together in little time and with a few whirrs of a hand blender, you are left with a smooth, velvety texture that sparkles on your palate with a dollop of crème fraîche. If you want to keep this soup vegan, you can omit the dairy.

chestnut apple soup

For nights when you have to entertain and come away looking like a fancy-pants chef, this soup is a must. Of course, you’ll be secretly pleased that instead of slaving for hours in the kitchen you spent a mere half an hour putting this together. Let this be our little secret then.

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Chestnut-Apple Soup
Adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2009

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 shallots
2 small Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 7.41-ounce jar vacuum-packed chestnuts
1 large celery stalk, chopped
3 small fresh thyme sprigs plus 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

3 tablespoons brandy
3 cups (or more) low-salt vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup crème fraîche


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, shallot, apple, chestnuts, celery, and thyme sprigs. Sauté until onion is soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add brandy; stir until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chestnuts are soft, about 15 minutes; cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Return soup to pan and cook until heated through, adding more chicken broth by tablespoonfuls to thin as needed and stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir crème fraîche and minced thyme in small bowl. Divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with crème fraîche and serve.

Makes 4 servings

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  • 1

    A jar of vacuum packed packed chestnuts, eh? I wonder if the bags they sell at the cheese store will work. Where did you get yours?
    This looks SOOO perfect for entertaining. With a glass of champagne, perhaps?

    March 5, 2009 5:08 pm
  • 2

    A jar of vacuum packed packed chestnuts, eh? I wonder if the bags they sell at the cheese store will work. Where did you get yours?
    This looks SOOO perfect for entertaining. With a glass of champagne, perhaps?

    March 5, 2009 5:08 pm
  • 3
    radish said:

    Hi Maggie, I found mine at Whole Foods. Yes, champagne would go perfectly with these – they might also make lovely amuse bouche servings!

    March 5, 2009 5:36 pm
  • 4

    Oh WOW, this looks great. This is my first visit to your blog, and won’t be the last. LOVE the food and photography.

    March 5, 2009 7:00 pm
  • 5

    I just started experimenting with chestnuts over Thanksgiving. They are so delicious, and I got the vacuum-packed kind. What kind of brandy did you use?

    March 6, 2009 11:19 am
  • 6
    radish said:

    Anticiplate – I used Hennesey cognac – I think any decent brandy/cognac will do. I wouldn’t go for the super awesome stuff, but the decent stuff should be just fine.

    March 6, 2009 11:59 am
  • 7
    robin said:

    I’m a savory soup person, but I love a small bowl sweet soup before a roast chicken dinner, so I will certainly be trying this. Thanks, Radish.

    March 6, 2009 3:33 pm
  • 8
    Jennifer said:

    That soup looks creamy and comforting!! Ive never had a chestnut soup, let alone chestnuts with apples! Beautiful!!

    March 6, 2009 6:17 pm
  • 9

    I honestly rarely want to make a recipe instantly after reading it but those photos make me want to run to the kitchen. And I lovvvee chestnuts!

    March 7, 2009 12:14 am
  • 10
    KT said:

    The soup looks great, and I’d love to try it soon – but what really kills me is your picture of thyme. WOW, gorgeous!! Thanks for the cooking and the photography inspiration :)

    March 8, 2009 9:18 pm
  • 11
    siri said:

    Looks divine…I never would have thought of making a soup out of chestnuts, but now I can see how that would work and work well. I adore your site and photos.

    March 9, 2009 8:11 am
  • 12
    radish said:

    Robin – i think you’ll love it.. it’s got a savory layer to it. It’s a nice layering of flavors.
    Jennifer and Siri – I would have never thought of it myself – thank god for more creative minds :) And than you for the compliments!!
    DeelishDish – did you make it? Curious :)
    KT – thank you – I’m thrilled you like the recipes and photos!!

    March 9, 2009 2:57 pm
  • 13
    LSE said:

    Hello! This comment is very belated compared the publication date of this entry, but I just noticed- the recipe calls for shallots, but doesn’t mention when to put them in! I looked at the original recipe and saw there are no shallots there, but wasn’t sure if they were part of the adaptation!

    Thanks a lot for all the wonderful recipes, they are keeping me fed these days!

    May 6, 2011 10:52 pm
  • 14
    Radish said:

    LSE – thank you so much for pointing it out. I fixed the omission – sorry about that. And I’m glad you like the recipes!

    May 7, 2011 8:21 am
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