I have to be honest. I had never actually cooked with chestnuts before making this soup for the first time. I love them and am always excited to eat them, but I was a little intimidated to actually cook with them. So, when I saw fresh chestnuts in the market, I thought I’d finally give it a shot and try to make a butternut squash chestnut soup. I looked online how to prepare them and to my surprise, they were actually pretty uncomplicated. Cut in X through the skin on one side, roast in oven for 15 minutes and peel. That’s it! And, the best part was that my kitchen was filled with the nostalgic smell of NYC city streets in the winter. When we lived in new york, we always laughed about how the roasted chestnuts from the street vendors smelled way better than they tasted.
Everyone does thanksgiving differently, and in my family we usually start the feast with an appetizer. Either a nice mug of soup or a salad. So, this week, I thought I would throw out some ideas for Thanksgiving starters. This simple, yummy, creamy soup is a great option. It is sure to be a crowd pleaser! And, it also makes for a nice lunch if you have holiday visitors for the weekend. Enjoy!
- 1 small butternut squash, about 3 pounds
- 1 pound fresh chestnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- ½ teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- coconut milk or regular cream, for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 425.
- Place the chestnuts flat side down on a cutting board. With a small, sharp knife carefully cut an X in each chestnut. Make sure the cut goes all the way through the skin.
- Place on baking sheet cut side up and roast for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Turn oven down to 375.
- Once cool enough to handle, peel skin off chestnuts and place in bowl.
- Carefully cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 45 minutes, until soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, heat olive in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, peeled chestnuts and thyme and stir to coat well and cook another 5 minutes.
- With a spoon, carefully scoop the flesh out of the squash and add to pot.
- Add stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
- Puree soup in a blender until thick and creamy (use caution when blending hot ingredients)
- Ladle into bowls and serve with toasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of cream.
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