Califonia Bountiful
Side Dish

Chestnut soup

With their sweet, earthy flavor, chestnuts are a welcome ingredient across the menu. This soup is a favorite of the Avila family.

Joe and Jenni Avila
The Chestnut Farm, Modesto

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2 lb. fresh chestnuts
1 cup chopped shallots or sweet onion
Butter or olive oil, for sautéing
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 cups chicken broth
Chives, parsley, cooked and crumbled bacon,
or fried sage leaves (optional, for garnish)


Place chestnuts in a large pot of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle boil. Medium-sized chestnuts (1 1/4-inch diameter) take about 45 minutes to cook. Test one to determine doneness: The inside should be softened, but still firm. Drain cooked chestnuts and cool slightly, then peel to remove shell and inner skin.

In a medium saucepan, sauté shallots in 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add thyme and salt to taste, and sauté for another minute. Stir in broth and all but 1/2 cup of the cooked chestnuts. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add more broth if needed.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop reserved chestnuts. In a small pan, sauté in 2 tsp. butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

When soup is done cooking, remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before using an immersion blender to puree to the desired consistency. If soup seems too thick, add a little broth or white wine. Return to the stovetop to heat.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with sautéed chestnuts and other garnishes as desired.

Serves 4 to 6

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