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ROASTED CHESTNUT SOUP WITH SAGE AND WILD RICE

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Makes 9 cups

The harvest season of autumn brings an abundance of fruit from the fields. This heart-warming soup is a signature dish of the fall season, incorporating creamy, sweet chestnuts, crisp red apple, and the earthy taste of wild rice. A finishing dash of sherry makes this soup a perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration.

1 lb chestnuts*

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, diced

2 ribs celery, diced

1 large red apple, diced

6 cups vegetable stock or water

1 tbsp dried sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups cooked wild rice

2 tbsps sherry, optional

Chopped parsley for garnish

 

Pre heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Clean the chestnuts, and using a sharp paring knife, carefully cut an X on the flat side of each chestnut. Put the chestnuts on a baking sheet, or in a shallow pan, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the chestnuts are tender when pricked with a knife. Peel the nuts while they are still hot but cool enough to handle. ** Discard any discolored nuts.

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and cook the onion and celery for 3-5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Chop the peeled chestnuts. Add the chestnuts, vegetable stock, sage, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Transfer the soup into a blender, one batch at a time, and puree the soup until smooth. Pour each batch into a large bowl or pot. When the soup is pureed, transfer it back to the cooking pot.

Pour the cream into a medium bowl and add 2 cups of hot soup (this will prevent the cold cream from curdling when it comes into contact with the hot liquid). Stir the cream mixture until well blended and pour it into the soup. Stir in the wild rice and optional sherry. Heat the soup; add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with parsley and serve

* 1 lb of chestnuts = 35 to 40 large whole (2 1/2 cups), or 2 cups of canned purée.

** The chestnuts must be peeled while they are hot or warm, otherwise peeling them will be much harder, and the meat will stick to the inner covering.