Chestnut Apple Soup with Cognac for Fall
Posted by Degan on October 24th, 2012
I love fall, a.k.a. “boots and sweater season”. I love the hill n the morning and the leaves and yes, even the rain. I love the boots and the sweaters but especially the food; thick crusty bread, hearty soups and tea. Nelson and the Seagull is great for all of these but I have a rotating selection of soups on the stove and this is one of my favourites. It’s a New York Times recipe and I’ve changed a couple of things around but the only thing worth mentioning is that the pitted prune garnish is more trouble than it’s worth. The apple and chestnut flavours are perfect for fall and people have been calling it a “stuffing soup” because it’s rich and savoury and smells like Thanksgiving.
- ¼ cup Calvados or Cognac, with a bit extra for drizzling. I used Cognac because that’s what we had it but the Calvados would bring more of an apple flavour.
- 6 TBSP butter
- 3 TBSP sugar
- 1¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 14-ounce jars of whole roasted chestnuts. You can use fresh roasted as well, but they’re a lot of work and don’t make a noticeable difference.
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
- 2 medium, sweet apples (such as Gala), peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 cup heavy cream
- In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the sugar, ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg. Add the chestnuts and cook, stirring occasionally to coat with the butter mixture until chestnuts are golden and caramelized, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and cook down, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet, until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
- Remove chestnuts from heat.
- In a large pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the celery, carrots, shallots and leek and cook, stirring continuously until softened.
- Add in the chestnuts, apples, stock and remaining teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Create a bundle with the thyme and parsley and tie with kitchen twine. Bring the mixture to boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the herb bundle and discard. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor or blender and return to pot. Stir in ½ cup heavy cream and heat until warmed through.
- Drizzle with a bit of Cognac to serve and curl up on the couch with a book and some tea and a sweater.*
- *Or if you prefer, this recipe also does well as a sophisticated dinner party starter.