Category Archives: chestnut

Chestnut Soup

We had some flurries tonight, but none of it stuck- I think it was too warm this past weekend.  But it’s still really fun to walk out of work, and see snow falling down.  Growing up in Illinois, we had lots of snow- so I’m one of those people that looks forward to a snowy evening at home.  Unfortunately, it does not come around very often in DC (other than Snowmageddon 2010).

But if you are someplace where it’s snowy and cold, and you need a good soup to warm you up, this is definitely one you should try.  We had made this soup when we had leftovers after we roasted chestnuts.

Have you cooked with parsnips?  They look a lot like carrots, but have a nutty flavor.  Roasting parsnips enhances their sweet flavor, which can be done prior to adding them to soups.  They are a great root vegetable, especially since they can last up to 3 weeks when kept in cool conditions.

Chestnut Soup
Adapted from: Richard Landau Vedge Restaurant (Philadelphia, PA)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 lb parsnips, peeled & roughly chopped
¼ cup sweet Marsala wine
6 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 lb roasted chestnuts, peeled
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Over medium heat, heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  Then add the onion, garlic and parsnips.  Sauté the vegetables until the onion is translucent and parsnips begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Then add the Marsala wine and cook for about 4 minutes, the liquid should reduce.

Then stir in stock, chestnuts, cloves, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Bring everything to a simmer.  Cook for another 15 minutes, or until the parsnips are tender.

Once everything is cooked, pour everything into a blender or food processor.  Blend the mixture to the consistency which you’d like.  Sprinkle parsley on top and serve.

How to Roast Chestnuts for Christmas

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping on your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
And so I’m offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you!
–Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire
(first recorded by The Nat King Cole Trio)

I actually only know the first and last verse of this song!

But this definitely puts me in the Holiday spirit!  I hope all of you are spending a wonderful weekend with your family and friends this Christmas- beginning with Christmas Eve!

So chestnuts- I promised to give you some tips on how to roast them.  (Check out the Fifth Floor Kitchen Facebook page to get article links, updates, etc.)

How to Roast Chestnuts

1/2 – 1 lb fresh chestnuts*

Preheat the oven to 475°F.  Spread out the chestnuts in a baking dish (this way they don’t slip out).  Find a flat side of each chestnut, and with a sharp paring knife cut a large “X”.  You want it to cut through the chestnut skin.

I really like how they all look!

Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  The edges will start to peel.

The skin is a little furry.

Let them cool a bit (to not burn your fingers).  Once they are cool enough to handle, peel the chestnuts.  Don’t let them cool completely, they will be very difficult to peel.

Enjoy this delicious little treat!

*The amount of the chestnuts does not matter.  I tend to buy 2 bags at the store (I know Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s carries them).