Recipe Friday: Mora Italian Roasted Chestnut Soup

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Recipes Issue: December 2018
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During the holidays, you often hear the late Nat King Cole crooning the song, “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” But have you ever eaten a chestnut? They have a slightly sweet and earthy taste and make a great base for savory soup.

Matthew Taylor, executive chef of Mora Italian, shares a recipe for chestnut and celery root soup that’s “both comforting and tremendously luxurious at the same time, especially if you can garnish with some fresh black truffles,” he says. 

The soup is fairly simple to prepare, Taylor says. “But it’s the attention to seasoning as you go and really building layers of flavor by cooking the ingredients gently one after the other that makes it shine. As well, ensuring that the chestnuts are nicely roasted before adding them to the soup is key. If they are roasted properly, they will have a tremendous depth of flavor and provide a beautiful sweetness that is unique.”

And if you’re wondering where to get chestnuts, check your local gourmet market. 

Roasted Chestnut and Celery Root Soup

Ingredients
4 cups shelled/peeled chestnuts
1 cup celery root, peeled/diced
1 cup celery, diced
1  cup shallots, sliced
1 gallon water
2 cups heavy cream
.5lb butter (unsalted), cubed
2 tbsp. chopped black truffles (optional)
1 tbsp. kosher salt

Preparation

  • In a heavy bottom pan roast the chestnuts in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes or so until a deep, dark but not burnt color is achieved. Set aside and reserve a few pieces to garnish the finished soup.
  • In a heavy bottom sauce pot melt the butter. Once it has started to foam add the shallots and a pinch of the salt, sweat over medium heat until tender and translucent.
  • Add the celery, another pinch of salt and sweat for another 5 minutes or until the celery starts to tenderize.
  • Add the celery root, and the roasted chestnuts. Season with another pinch of salt and cover with the water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for about 15 minutes until everything is super tender and the liquid has reduced by one third.
  • Add the heavy cream and the remainder of the salt, bring to a boil then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • In a blender puree the soup mixture on high until very smooth. Serve immediately and garnish with the reserved roasted chestnuts and chopped black truffles if you desire.
  • A drizzle of good olive oil, and some celery hearts (the inner yellow leaves) makes a great garnish as well.