With winter still in the air (even in California), soup is always on my mind. Given it’s cold in the evenings in LA, I was craving chestnuts. They bring me back to Christmas and holidays on the East Coast. But who has the time or the fingernails for roasting and peeling chestnuts?? So, presto! Pre-cooked and pre-peeled chestnuts. (See below).
This recipe combines roasted chestnuts and roasted celery root in a silky non-cream-based soup. Serve with a salad to make an easy, hearty meal on a weeknight.
Ingredients and Directions:
- Extra virgin olive oil – use “everyday” oil for roasting and higher quality oil for a finishing drizzle to serve
- Salt to taste
- One large celery root (about the size of a softball), peeled and diced into about 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 medium white onion, diced
- 1 leek, white and pale green part, sliced in rings (be sure to clean the leek by cutting it lengthwise and rinsing under cold water, releasing any sand from between the leaves)
- One 6.5 ounce box of pre-cooked and pre-peeled chestnuts
- 8 cups of chicken stock (preferably homemade) – use less or more as you like to adjust the consistency. This soup works in a consistency from very thick to very light.
- Ground white pepper
- Parsley (optional) to garnish
Special equipment: A blender, a heavy soup pot, and a sheet pan.
- Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
- Place the celery root pieces in a bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt and a splash of cooking olive oil. Toss with a spoon. Pour celery root out onto a sheet pan.
- Place sheet pan in pre-heated oven and roast for about 30 minutes. Turn over the celery root pieces once or twice while roasting.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy soup pot, add a splash of cooking olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and diced onion and saute for about 5 minutes until soft and beginning to brown. Do not over-brown.
- When the celery root is finished roasting, add it to soup pot. Reserving a few chestnuts for garnish, add them too. Lightly saute over low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and bring the pot to boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- When the soup is cool enough to handle, pour into a blender and puree. Do in batches if needed. BE CAREFUL to hold the lid down with a dish towel and not to overfill the blender.
- Return the pureed soup to the pot and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and white pepper. Warm to the temperature you desire for eating.
- Serve in nice bowls and drizzle each bowl with the high-quality olive oil to finish. Add a few chestnuts to each bowl. Garnish with parsley is optional.