Friday, October 24, 2008

Souper Duper Chestnut Trooper

We experienced an avalanche in Surrey yesterday.

Of sweet chestnuts.

Piles and piles of the things in their bombastic bright green, spiked and rather aggressive jackets, they've covered the road in a number of the places Ma Pea and I have been walking. With our trusty plastic bag to hand, and humming in cheerful anticipation of our FREE edible wares, we got collecting! For MP I think there was an element of childhood glee there, it was clear that she had done this before. Like excited toddlers, we both pounced on the ominous looking spiky bundles and, as I'd never been chestnut-gathering before, she taught me how to gently scuff it with your shoe until the case bursts open to reveal three or four glossy brown chestnuts nestled inside. What treasure!

There is something incredibly satisfying about finding your own lunch. Maybe I'll become one of these outdoor scavengers, shooting squirrels and roasting them over an open fire, with a few choice funghi thrown in for good measure. I can just picture it now...or maybe I'll just stick to the aga.

The glut called for nothing less than a heavenly soup. So here it is.

Chestnut, Bacon and Potato Soup
Serves 4

50g Butter and glug of oil
250g bacon, cut into small cubes
1 onion, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 litre of stock
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
300g potato cut into small pieces
400g chestnuts
salt, pepper

If your chestnuts are fresh, wash them and make a small incision in each, putting them on a roasting tin to roast for 20 minutes at high heat, or until they have burst out of their skins. Let them cool and then peel them to remove both the outside and inside skin.
If packaged, pour boiling water over the vacuum pack, and leave for a few minutes until loosened, then cut open the top of the bag to release the chestnuts.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add a glug of oil, browning the bacon gently until it releases its fatty juices. Add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and soften gently for 15 minutes. Add the stock, thyme and rosemary and season well, bringing the mixture up to the boil.

Chop the chestnuts to small pieces and add them, along with the potatoes into the soup. Simmer for 20 minutes, by which time the potatoes will be butter smooth. Serve with a glug of olive oil and a generous dollop of chopped parsley.

A cracking autumn warmer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Souper Duper Chestnut Trooper... lol

Sounds very nice indeed