Adapted from Bon Appétit, March 2009
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 cup chopped onion
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