Its that time of year again – Autumn is just about here and winter won’t be too far away, meaning that chesnuts will be available again!
Sweet chestnuts are not only very good for you but they are delicious too, and very versatile. You can use them to make soup, flour, and much more. They taste great just roasted on an open fire, but one of my favourite recipes is a chesnut soup.
It may be best to wait until the frost has arrived before picking, so you may be best to pick chestnuts at around November/December time. But if you see any that have already started dropping onto the floor of the forests then it would be a shame for them to go to waste (obviously leave some for the animals though!).
Chesnut Soup Recipe
This recipe will serve around 4/5 people
1 pint of Milk
1 tsp. Pepper
1/4 Pint Stock
1/2 tsp. Mace
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tbsp. Oil
Pinch of Salt
Remove the chestnuts from their sharp husks, be sure to use gloves when doing this. It may be simplest to put them on the floor outside and stand on them (wearing shoes!) to free the nuts from their husks.
Put the 500g of chestnuts into a pan and cover them with water. Boil them for about half an hour, this is simply to loosen the skins from the nuts (the skin leaves a bitter taste if eaten). Remove the skins from the nuts (wait until they have cooled down first).
Use a liquidizer or food processor to puree the chesnuts. Use some of the stock to help you break the chestnuts down.
Finely chop the onion and then fry in a little oil. Add the remaining stock to the pan. Next, add the chetnut puree mix, simmering until it starts to thicken up. Make sure that you keep stiring the mix at this point to get the soup at a good consistency.
At this point you will want to add half of the 1pint of Milk, and continue to simmer the soup for about 5 minutes, before adding the rest of the milk. Remember to keep stirring at this point – no-one likes lumpy soup!
Add the 1/2 teaspoon of Mace, the teaspoon of Pepper, half teaspoon of Nutmeg, and a pinch of Salt. Continue to cook the soup for about 30 minutes.
There you have it, a very simple yet filling soup – very tasty and warming, especially on those cold winter days! Serve with a chunk of fresh bread.