Creamy Porcini Chestnut Soup
I found a recipe for a similar soup to this one in our local Umbrian newspaper recently and tore it out immediately as it combines two of my favorite fall foods, chestnuts and mushrooms. Chestnuts are everywhere here in Umbria right now and although porcini mushrooms are not as available here as they are in Tuscany, mushrooms of every other variety are being sold in every grocery store and street market. Since I wanted the “real” porcini flavor, I settled for frozen porcini in my version of this recipe, although you could use any combination of mushrooms you prefer. If you are using the basic button mushroom though I would consider adding some rehydrated dried porcini into the mix to increase the mushroom flavor. The original recipe called for just chestnuts and porcini mushrooms, but I like to develop a flavor base for all my soups by using a soffritto, a mix of onion, celery, and carrots that are slowly sauteed. The soup is blended before serving creating a very thick soup. If you find it too thick, simply dilute with a bit of additional broth. To prepare the chestnuts, I simply cut an X into them with a sharp knife and boiled then for about 30 minutes. Once boiled, cool, and peel.
This soup was rich, thick and had a delicate earthiness to it that was simply delicious. I did find the flavor was more developed the second day after we reheated it so it certainly is a soup you could make ahead of time and store in the refrigerator a day or two before serving. To garnish the soup, you could saute some fresh mushrooms & some diced pancetta, a spoonful of pesto, or add a dollop of sour cream with fresh chopped herbs. I wanted to simply enjoy the flavor on it’s own so I simply topped the soup with some chopped fresh chives, a drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil, and some cracked black pepper. This is one soup in particular that is best not served too hot. Served just warm, the flavor is much more pronounced.
Deborah Mele 2011
Creamy Porcini Chestnut Soup
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
This soup is thick, rich, with a delicate earthiness.
1 Carrot, Diced
1 Celery Stalk, Diced
1 Small Onion, Peeled & Diced
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Pound Porcini Mushrooms (OR Mushrooms Of Choice) Cleaned & Chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
1 Pound Fresh Chestnuts, Boiled & Peeled & Coarsely Chopped
Chicken or Vegetable Broth (About 4 to 5 Cups)
Salt & Pepper
Sauteed Pancetta And Chopped Chestnuts
Chopped Fresh Herbs & Drizzle Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the celery, onion, and carrot and cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until soft.
Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned.
Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes until the garlic releases it's aroma.
Add the chestnuts and about 4 cups of broth and simmer over medium low heat for about 30 minutes, adding additional broth if needed.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cool for 15 minutes and then puree until thick and smooth.
Serve just warm with your garnish of choice.