Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… mmmmm, chestnuts. Seriously, who doesn’t love roasted chestnuts? Ok, I suppose probably quite a few people… but to me they are the most delicious roasted nuts and they’re one of the crucial parts of the holiday season for me.
While looking at a menu for a local restaurant the other day, I noticed they had a roasted chestnut gnocchi on there which by name sounded like the best thing ever. Sadly, the sauce and other items that went with it were nothing I would expect to have with the roasted chestnut flavor. So that was disappointing, but the idea seed had been planted in my mind to try some recipes incorporating roasted chestnuts. Really, I feel a bit silly for never having thought of it before. I mean, if they’re that delicious to eat on their own, how wonderful would recipes be that include them?
First stop of course was Pinterest, where I simply searched for roasted chestnut recipes. Funny thing, though… most of the recipes I was finding involving chestnuts were all from foreign websites in languages I definitely did not understand, and there wasn’t a lot out there in general. I did find a Gordon Ramsay recipe for a similar soup to this one, but it involves curry and some other spices that just didn’t jive with the idea I had in my head. Ultimately I found a base recipe (in English!) that fit better with what I was aiming for, and after some additions and changes here we are.
Unfortunately, fresh chestnuts are no longer in season, which kind of bummed me out; fortunately, though, Wegmans sells packaged, pre-roasted chestnuts. I imagine using fresh chestnuts you roast yourself would give it a bit stronger chestnut flavor, but this was honestly the most delicious soup I’ve ever eaten as made below so it’s tough to imagine it could be much better. Feel free to use the packaged pre-roasted chestnuts like I did if they sell them in your local grocery store and you don’t want to wait another year to try this soup out (and really, you shouldn’t because it is so incredibly scrumptious!).
Creamy Roasted Chestnut & Mushroom Bisque w/Apples, Parsnips & Goat Cheese
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter (divided)
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 of a medium-sized sweet onion (diced)
- 2 medium-sized parsnips (peeled and chopped into very small pieces - the smaller the better in order for them to cook properly)
- 2 stalks of celery (finely diced)
- 10 oz sliced mushrooms (cremini/baby bella)
- 2 medium (or 1 large) Apple (peeled, cored and copped) - I used honeycrisp
- 250 g (~11oz) roasted chestnuts (weight reflected is with shells removed) - You can either roast fresh chestnuts yourself or pre-packaged, pre-roasted chestnuts if your local store sells them
- 4 cups chicken broth (hot temperature) - use vegetable broth instead to make it a vegetarian dish
- 10 oz soft goat cheese
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1+1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (divided)
- 1/4 cup light cream/single cream
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- fresh chives (finely sliced)
- Melt 3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add in the garlic, onion, parsnips, celery, salt and 1/2 tsp. of the pepper and stir frequently for ~10 minutes until the vegetables have browned and softened.
- Add in the mushrooms and apples and remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until the apples and mushrooms have softened.
- Reduce heat to medium, add in the chestnuts, chicken broth and remaining 1 tsp. of pepper and continue cooking for ~20 minutes longer until liquid has reduced a bit and all vegetables/apples are completely softened.
- Remove from the heat and blend until thoroughly blended and thick (either while in the dutch oven, using an immersion blender, or in small batches using a regular blender).
- Place the soup back in the dutch oven if you used a regular blender, and then place back on the stove with the burner on low heat.
- Add in the goat cheese and stir until melted and thoroughly combined. At this point, taste-test the soup and add additional salt/pepper if needed and/or add some water or chicken stock to thin out the soup if it's too thick.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the light cream and sour cream.
- Serve the soup hot with a swirl of the cream/sour cream mixture and some chives on top. *Note: To get my swirl in the photo shown above, I spooned some of the cream/sour cream mixture into a ziploc bag, cut a small hole in one of the corners and squeezed it out into the swirl.*
Adapted from here