With the phrases “winter weather watch” and “storm advisory” hanging heavy in the air, the grocery stores teeter on the brink of milk, egg and bread depletion. Though I’d advocate for a fair fight for the last crusty loaf, I have this creamy, vegetarian, snowstorm survival idea to offer you: Chestnut Mushroom Soup!
In a world of titles and categories, I lump myself with the “conscientious omnivores,” but chestnuts could nearly sway me to the vegetarian crowd. Spoonful after warm spoonful, the roasted chestnuts could easily fool you into believing meat lurked in this creamy soup.
So hit the grocery store, fight for the last crusty loaf of bread, and while the milk and eggs create a diversion, scrounge that lingering holiday offering of chestnuts. Then, cozy into the weekend with a big batch of hearty, vegetarian soup.
Chestnut Mushroom Soup (Vegetarian)
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
makes 12 servings
About This Recipe: The process of roasting and shelling chestnuts can be a bit tedious, but the end result is worth the experience! Hearty and meaty, this vegetarian soup pairs well with buttery brie on dense, whole grain bread. For a vegan option, use coconut oil for the sautéing, and garnish with a whipped coconut cream.
2 pounds fresh chestnuts
12 ounces cremini mushrooms
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (from grass-fed cows) + 2 Tablespoons for garnish prep
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper2 medium organic red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, halved
16 sprigs fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish
12 cups homemade or store-bought organic, low-sodium vegetable stock
4 cups filtered water
1 cup organic heavy cream
additional heavy cream, sour cream, Greek yogurt, or crème frâiche
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using a paring knife, make an incision in each chestnut about 1/8-inch deep through the shell and into the flesh, cutting almost all the way around nut. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast until chestnuts are tender when pierced with the paring knife, about 35 minutes. Turn off oven. Leaving sheet in oven, remove several chestnuts at a time. Working quickly, place each chestnut in a kitchen towel, and remove and discard shell and inner skin.
Roughly chop all but 4 cremini and 4 shiitake mushrooms.
Heat 8 Tablespoons butter in a stockpot over medium-high heat.
Add chopped mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add onion, garlic, and thyme leaves. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
Add all but 4 peeled chestnuts, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add stock and the water, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until chestnuts are falling-apart tender, about 1 hour.
Let soup cool slightly. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor, and puree until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Optional: For a completely blended soup, pass soup through a fine sieve into a bowl; transfer solids in batches to a food processor or blender. Then combine the pureed soup to the strained liquid, and process 1 minute.
Cut the remaining 4 chestnuts and 4 mushrooms into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt 1-2 Tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute sliced chestnuts and mushrooms until crisp and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Just before serving, heat soup over low. Stir in cream, and remove from heat.
Ladle soup into shallow bowls; garnish with sauteed chestnuts and mushrooms and the thyme leaves. Serve with warm heavy cream, sour cream or crème frâiche.
Stay warm & enjoy!