Reader’s Challenge: Chestnut Soup with Prosciutto!

by simplylife on November 17, 2011

I’m sorry.  I owed you this post months ago.  For the past year I have been posting about a new Reader’s Challenge nearly monthly with the intent of promptly completing that challenge.

I’m not sure if you remember but the last challenge I posted was in September and it was for you to challenge me to a new soup.  I received several great ideas: cauliflower soup, cheese tortellini and the list goes on.

The one that was picked ended up truly being the greatest challenge.  Chestnut Soup.  (Of course, it’s also one of my posts where not all the comments transferred to the new domain, including the comment that picked this soup).

When I first started looking for chestnut soup recipes I was immediately intrigued.  I’ve never bought chestnuts before, let alone cook with them so I really didn’t know what to expect.  I found a few similar recipes that all helped to explain the roasting process.

Then the next challenge which proved to be the greatest of them all: finding chestnuts.  I’m pretty sure that every Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s within a 10 mile radius knows me as the Saturday morning shopper who asks for chestnuts.  I literally had to have my husband start asking because I was too embarrassed to ask again.

So if you’re wondering, chestnuts are not available in New England in September.  Or October.

But mid-November.  Bingo.

Here are a few helpful tips I learned along the way: 1) there are jarred chestnuts which are already peeled for you (and you are definitely paying for this) and then what I opted for, fresh chestnuts (which take a bit of work, but are worth the effort and savings)  2)  it’s best if you use them within a few days  3) it’s best to soak the chestnuts and then “score” an x in the chestnuts before roasting

This soup is perfect for the holidays!  It’s elegant, filling (can you believe this thick of a soup doesn’t have any cream?!) and sure to “wow” your guests!

And yes…it’s even worth waiting two extra months for.

Chestnut Soup with Prosciutto

For about 4 small bowls

Adapted from The Bitten Word

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh chestnuts
2 tbs. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
2 leeks, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced
1/2 tbs. thyme (more or less to taste)
3-4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 oz. thinly sliced proscuitto, cut into small pieces

Directions:
1.  Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  In medium bowl, cover the chestnuts with warm water and soak for 25 minutes.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Score an X into the flat side of each chestnut, making sure you cut all the way through the shell.  Place them flat side down up on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the Xs curl back and then chestnuts are tender when squeezed, about 25-30 minutes.  Allow chestnuts to slightly cool (enough to handle) then peel back the shell and remove shell and inner skin (a spoon may also help to scoop out resistant nuts).  Roughly chop nuts and set aside.

2.  In a large pot, heat 2 tbs. olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add the leeks and cook until softened, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chestnuts and thyme and cook about 1 minute.  Add 3 cups chicken broth and pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, until chestnuts are very tender.  Remove from heat and puree the soup with an immersion or stand blender.  Return to medium-low heat and gently reheat, add additional chicken broth, if desired to thin soup.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3.  Meanwhile, in small skillet, heat remaining tsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Add prosciutto and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp (about 2 to 3 minutes).  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with proscuitto and additional thyme (optional).  Serve and enjoy!

Using random.org the winner of the Rudi’s Bread is Tasty Healthy Green!

Don’t forget to enter to win Rockin’ Coffee!

~Have you ever made anything with chestnuts?  What is your favorite way to eat them?

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  • http://lauren-whatlaurenlikes.blogspot.com/ Lauren

    This is so cool! I’ve only tried chesnuts once before, but never in a soup! :)

  • Deepa

    That’s a very innovative and delicious looking soup using chestnut. Wonderfully prepared dear.

    Deepa
    Hamaree Rasoi

  • http://www.tiptopshape2.blogspot.com Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    WHen I think of chestnuts all I hear is “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” haha. I have never used them in cooking but I want to now! This looks like the perfect holiday dish!

  • E Martin Odonnell

    Never in a million years would I have thought to make soup with chestnuts. What a neat idea!!

  • Amanda Barbush

    Cute story, lady!

  • http://whatisbakinginthebarbershop.blogspot.com/ Colleen

    What a unique idea! I’ve never made anything with chestnuts before. I’m very impressed! :)

  • http://www.decocinasytacones.blogspot.com decocinasytacones

    WOW!, this is comfort food, no doubt. Chesnut´s soop, I haven´t eaten it yet, I should try this.
    Kisses
    Marialuisa

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      You definitely should try it- it’s delicious!

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com Yummychunklet

    This does look rather hearty. I wouldn’t mind any of that bread either!

  • http://amazingasset.com Tessa @ Amazing Asset

    This is such a great post! I have never event tasted a chestnut, so clearly I am behind on this one! haha

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      I’m not sure if I have before making this soup – they’re definitely worth trying!!

  • http://www.4seasonsoffood.com/ Ranjani

    Cool! I’ve never cooked with chestnuts and maybe never even tasted them so I can’t quite imagine what this soup tastes like – but it looks and sounds amazing!

  • http://foodiefiasco.com Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco

    Can I have a bucket of this please? Thank you.

    Do you think I could make a vegetarian version sans prosciutto?

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      Definitely! You may want to add croutons or something to give it a little crunch and added texture but I think it would be delicious just on its own ads well!

  • http://swankydietitian.com Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    What a creative recipe!! I love the addition of prosciutto!
    I would have never thought to use chestnuts in a soup! :)

  • http://www.myplaceintherace.com Shannon ~ My Place In The Race

    That is an interesting combo! It looks really good though. And I love chestnuts!

  • http://forgottenbeast.wordpress.com/ Allie

    My family roasts chestnuts plain the oven once a year (at Christmas), and that’s the only way/time I’ve ever had them. I think I need to do some exploring with chestnut cooking, ’cause this sounds delicious!

  • http://hungryhungryrunner.com/ Molly @ Hungry Hungry Runner

    Wow – this soup looks amazing! I’ve never purchased or cooked chestnuts either, but this soup sounds so tasty that I just might have to! I love how festive and holiday appropriate it is, too. :) Thanks for sharing!

  • http://errign.wordpress.com Errign

    I’m fairly certain I’ve never even had a chestnut…I’m usually reminded of this around this time of year.

  • http://www.fitapproach.com Jamie Walker

    WOW – you are amazing for attempting this!! I wouldn’t even know what to do with a chestnut if I got hold of one. Was your soup successful on the first try? I’m am impressed!!!

    I would love to try this without the prosciutto, of course ;)

    • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

      It was successful on the first try although peeling the chestnuts took longer than I expected! I definitely recommend trying it!

  • http://merigoesround.blogspot.com/ meri

    I’ve never had chestnuts before. I was going to buy them one time, but I didn’t know how to use them!

  • http://bethmichelle.com Beth Michelle

    I love chestnuts and chestnut soup is a favorite to make. The potato like consistency when pureed is perfect for a soup!

  • smsmith

    WOW that looks too delicious!

  • http://juniakk.blogspot.com Juniakk

    chestnut soup sounds delicious! mmmmm christmas is almost here. i always think of the two together. :)

  • Mom

    I have never heard of any soup using chestnuts; GREAT JOB TAKING ON THIS CHALLENGE!

    I now understand why everyone always came around the table for roasted chestnuts at Christmas! They know that few people would undertake all of effort involved!

  • Jolene (Everydayfoodie)

    Wow – what a soup!!! I have never made anything with chestnuts, but I did try to roast them once, and it didn’t go so well for me.

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