Roast Carrot & Chestnut Soup with Croutons is a bowlful of sweet earthy warmth. Which might seem riduculous to you. Especially if you live in my neck of the woods. It’s been near 80 degrees all week, the flowers are blooming and those wacky birds are chirpping their little beaks off. I have a weekend of gardening planned and it’s time to get the pool in shape for the season.
It seems spring has sprung and I am enjoying the sun it’s brung!
So why am I sitting here wearing purple velour and making a big bowl of warm chestnut soup? Certainly chestnut soup is a cool weather comforter of the first degree. Chestnuts remind me of snowy sleigh rides and big family meals by the fire. Chestnuts have a subtle yet distinctive flavor, and are rich and creamy when pureed. Making this soup taste much more luxurious than its simple ingredients would lead you to believe. Yes, chestnut soup is rightfully considered a “winter food”. Why would I be trying on new swim suits with one half of my brain and cooking up a pot of soup with the other?
Well, they do call this venue I spit words into (on a near daily basis) the world WIDE web. So gosh dern it I feel I have a geographic obligation to consider the fact that it is February– the very dead of winter in some parts. So this soup is my way of saying I know what’s going on out there. I don’t want to be accused of being insensitive to those of you who may be a bit more weather challenged than me and my sunny Southern California brethren. Because I have been called a weather snob before. Well if the short shorts fit…
So to prove my alligence to winter weather everywhere, I have pulled the blinds, cranked the AC and put the soup pot on… brrr it’s chilly in here. GREG
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 2 c chestnuts, roasted and peeled
- 1 pn kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 c chicken stock
- 1 pn freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 3 thick slices of rustic bread, crusts removed and cut into 3/4‑inch dice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the onions and carrots in a baking pan. Do not crowd the pan. Add several pinches of salt salt, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat well. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 mins. Let the vegetables cool a little, then combine with the already roasted chestnuts in a medium bowl, tossing to mix.
Place 1/3 of the mixture in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 1 cup of the stock and process to a smooth puree. Pour into a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add another 1/3 of the mixture along with 1 more cup stock to the blender or food processor. This time pulse the mixture until a course, almost lumpy texture is achieved, you be the judge oh how much texture you’d like. Add this to the soup pot and repeat with the remaining carrot & chestnut mixture and 1 more cup stock. Then add this to the stock pot as well as the remaining cup stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, make the croutons. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the bread cubes and gently stir until crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
To finish the soup, add the cream, stir to combine, and remove from the heat. Adjust seasoning one last time. Ladle into warmed soup bowls, and mound a spoonful of croutons in the center of each bowl.
Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.