Fresh chestnuts are puréed with celery root, leeks, onions, apples, nutmeg, thyme and heavy cream to create what is, essentially, every fall flavor packed into one bowl.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 medium leek, white part only, trimmed, thinly sliced, washed and dried
- 2 McIntosh or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 10 ounces celery root, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig thyme
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 3/4 pound peeled fresh chestnuts from 1 ¼ pounds chestnuts in shells, or 3/4 pound dry-packed bottled or vacuum-sealed peeled fresh chestnuts
- 2 quarts homemade unsalted chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the oil in a stockpot or large casserole over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, apples, celery root, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the onions and leeks are soft but not colored. Add the chestnuts and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Skim the surface regularly for 35 to 40 minutes or until the chestnuts can be mashed easily with a fork. Add the heavy cream and simmer 5 to 10 minutes more. Then discard the bay leaf and thyme.
Purée the soup until smooth using a blender, food processor or hand-held immersion blender. Then pass it through a fine-mesh strainer. At this point, you should have about 2 quarts of soup. If you have more, or if you think the soup is too thin (the soup should have the consistency of a velouté or light cream soup), simmer it over medium heat until thickened. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning.
The soup can be cooled completely and stored in a covered jar in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to a month. Bring the soup back to a boil before serving.