Chestnuts are amazing: they are very nutritious, gluten free, cholesterol free and almost fat free as well. You can simply roast them over the fire and enjoy them as a nibble, use them as stuffing for meat recipes or desserts, but they are capable of so much more!

A perfect example is this soup: it may look awful, but it is absolutely delicious. It would be perfect for a cold, rainy autumn day; especially if enjoyed with crunchy garlicky croutons.

You can boil the chestnuts first and then peel them or  you can peel them first and then cook them; I think the first method is much easier, as soaking the chestnuts first (20-25 minutes) in warm water helps to soften them up before slashing them.

6 servings


for the soup:

  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot (chopped)
  • 1 celery rib, (chopped)
  • 1/2 medium onion (chopped )
  • 1.5 pounds unpeeled chestnuts
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt
  • pepper

for the Croutons:

  • 1/2 large loaf of country bread
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


For the Croutons:

  • Cut the crusts off the loaf of bread.
  • Slice the bread irregularly into small pieces
  • Pour about 1/4 cup olive oil into a large saute pan
  • add the garlic cloves
  • Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, gently tossing the bread and the garlic around so nothing gets burnt
  • Remove garlic cloves
  • Evenly spread the bread in the pan
  • Add butter (be careful not to make the butter and the oil sizzle, it means the heat is too high)
  • Adjust the heat, then stir the croutons often as they cook.
  • Cook for 15 more minutes, until the croutons become crispy and of a nice golden brown colours on all sides

For the soup:

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
  • Add carrot, celery and onion and cook over low heat
  • stir until softened, for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chestnuts and cook for 4 more minutes.
  • Add the port and thyme sprigs and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until the wine is reduced by half.
  • Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Partially cover the pot, and simmer over low heat at least 25 minutes.
  • Discard the thyme springs.
  • Insert an immersion blender into the soup and thoroughly puree it (or just pulse it in a food processor and then put it back)
  • Return soup to a simmer, finally add the cream
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with croutons on top.