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SSS Week One: Porcini and Chestnut Soup

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sundayslowsoupersMany thanks to Amy for getting the Sunday SlowSoupers off to a great start! This soup is absolutely delicious – I really loved it. I had good intentions of freezing some of it for the holidays but no, I ate it all myself (not in one sitting!). Porcini is a strong flavor and while it's the top note in this, the chestnuts mellow it out. It's elegant comfort food.

I’m psyched about participating in Slow Soupers because it will make me try new recipes. I tend to get in a cooking rut and make my same faves over and over. And I probably wouldn’t have tried this one because I would have been too lazy to search out the ingredients.

I pretty much followed the recipe exactly (and it's really easy to make). I skipped the cream fraiche garnish and just topped it with parsley and fresh thyme leaves. I used Pacific Organic chicken broth (bought a six-pack at Costco) and sherry. Used a can of whole chestnuts packed in water that I found at Whole Foods.

I’ll definitely make this again, and I’d like to try it with fresh roasted chestnuts sometime when I’ve got the time to roast and peel them myself. I’m going to bring some porcini home from Venice next month and look for chestnuts on sale after the holidays.

You can find the recipe (with step-by-step photographs) on Amy’s blog. I've also reprinted it below.

List of other Slow Soupers is here. We'll be cooking soup from now until April! Thanks to Krista for the cool logo!

Next up: Jerry’s Mexican Turkey Soup

Chestnut and Porcini Soup
(makes 6-7 cups, can be frozen)

1/3 cup dried porcinis
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 medium carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 large shallots or ¼ small onion, finely chopped
1 sprig each of bay leaf, thyme and parsley
2 tablespoons butter

2 cans low-sodium chicken broth (or 4 cups homemade)
1 1/4 pounds coarsely chopped peeled roasted chestnuts or 8-12 ounces bottled/canned/defrosted chestnuts. You want between a cup and 1 1/2 cups chestnuts.
Fresh-ground pepper
2 tablespoons dry sherry, or white wine, or cognac

Creme fraiche or a swirl of heavy cream, for garnish
chopped parsley for garnish

1. Combine porcini mushrooms and the hot water in medium bowl. Let stand until porcini mushrooms soften, about 20 minutes.

2. In a large saucepan melt butter and add carrots, celery, and shallots or onions. Saute until tender. Add herbs and chicken broth.

3. Using slotted spoon, transfer porcini mushrooms into saucepan with chicken broth. Add porcini-soaking liquid to saucepan, carefully leaving sediment behind in bowl (I like to pour it through cheesecloth) . Add chestnuts and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove herbs before pureeing.

4. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, then return soup to saucepan. Or, just use an immersion blender, being careful to keep it at the bottom of the pot to avoid hot splatters. You may want to add a bit more water or stock if it’s too thick. You want a light soup, with the consistency of milk. Add Sherry, wine or cognac to taste. Bring soup to simmer, correct seasonings adding salt and pepper, to taste. Cool slightly and refrigerate. Can be prepared 2 days ahead or frozen. Re-warm over medium heat, stirring well to recombine if its separated.

5. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with a spoonful of crème fraiche, or drizzle a bit of heavy cream in a spiral. Just a touch of parsley for color is nice

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Comments (2)

Beautiful photo. Congratulations on joining the slowsoupers! I might try one or two of the soups but won't be trying this one as I am one of those strange people that does not like mushrooms.

Thanks girasoli. I might skip a few but I'm looking forward to trying most of them. Soup is really one of my favorite foods (and I like having leftovers to take to work for lunch). You should join in on some of them for sure!

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