Creamy Chestnut Soup, and escaping holiday chaos

Chestnut Soup, 1/2
Creamy Chestnut Soup with Rosemary Garlic Croutons – easily made vegan – recipe in post

I think it’s safe to say I’m not alone in feeling a little stressed about the upcoming holidays… it seems like there’s hardly any time to recover from the indulgences of Thanksgiving before all of a sudden, it’s Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, etc.). Where does the time go? It’s dark when we go to work, dark when we get home, and before you know it a whole month has gone by and you’ve done nothing but sleep and eat. Or is that just me?

The other day, I got my calendar screwed up and thought there was only a week and a half until Christmas. I panicked. I didn’t have my gifting in order, my plans were un-confirmed, I hadn’t sured-up my cookie recipes – I was completely unprepared! I rushed out in the middle of my day to four different stores, stocking up on flour, sugar, wrapping paper, fuzzy socks (they were on sale, and besides, who doesn’t love fuzzy socks?)… before I realized my mistake. Oh, the relief! I took a big deep breath, glad to know this would be the last check-out line I would have to stand in for one day. I had psyched myself out to the point of exhaustion, and couldn’t wait to be home.

Home, where The Fiancé, warm blankets, and happiness lay. Home, where this soup was waiting for me – home!

(I don’t know about you, but shopping makes me hella’ hungry.)

This soup is sweet and earthy, cozy and aromatic, comforting and filling, and perfect to enjoy whilst wearing fuzzy socks.

Or not – whatever.

Chestnut Soup, 2/2

Creamy Chestnut Soup with Rosemary Garlic Croutons
Serves 6 – easily made Vegan
Click here for a tutorial on how to roast your own chestnuts

2 TBSP butter or olive oil
1 stalk celery
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. shiitaki mushrooms, stems removed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup white wine or sherry
1 1/2 lbs. chestnuts, roasted and shelled (or one 24oz. jar)
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8th tsp. ground cloves
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups milk, or dairy-free substitute, plus more as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, shallot, and garlic – saute 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until softened.
Stir in the wine, chestnuts, and spices, then add the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and let cook 20-30 minutes, or until the chestnuts have softened.
Add the milk (or substitute) and puree with an immersion blender until smooth (or, carefully transfer to a blender and puree in batches. Always use caution when blending hot liquids!). Add more milk, or water, to thin the soup to desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with croutons.

Rosemary-Garlic Croutons

4 cups rustic Italian or French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
3-4 TBSP olive oil
large pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300f.
Toss all ingredients to combine, and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the center rack for 15-20 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan every 5-6 minutes, or until the croutons are golden brown.

Remove from oven and serve – leftovers can be cooled completely and stored in a baggie or lidded container at room temperature.


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5 Responses to Creamy Chestnut Soup, and escaping holiday chaos

  1. shannon weber December 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    you had me at “escaping holiday chaos.” AMEN to that.
    And i’m so cookie’d out right now i may fall over. i need hot, savory things, exactly like this. YUM.
    I love your crouton treatment, too. I haven’t had storebought croutons in years, because it’s so easy (and so much more tasty) when you make your own.

  2. mimi rippee December 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Beautiful! And, great recipe as well! Thanks

  3. leaf (the indolent cook) December 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Looks fabulously earthy! And the croutons are a great crowning touch.

  4. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes December 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Hahaha I have fuzzy socks on righ this very moment – I live in them this time of year!

    It is crazy how “crazy” everything becomes this time of year – it is a bummer the whole lack of daylight – 3:30pm and the sun is setting is quite depressing! This woup would definitely cheer me up …everytime I see a chestnut I think of you :)


  1. 6 Things I Love Right Now | The Sonia Show - January 15, 2016

    […] and potato leek soup (both from “Thug Kitchen” – the best cookbook ever), chestnut soup (from Will Cook For Friends) and spicy black bean soup from a recipe in VegNews magazine (yeah, I subscribe to a vegan […]

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