The Patient's Chestnut Soup
1 small onion, cut up
1 pound fresh chestnuts
1/2 stick of butter
1 large head of garlic
1 rib of celery, cut up
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 quarts chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
A pinch of nutmeg
1 quart half-and-half
Cut off enough of the top of the garlic head to expose almost all the cloves.
Wipe some butter over the exposed area, and place it cut side down
in a small baking dish.
Bake in 250-degree oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, until the
garlic is soft and spread able.
Bring 6 cups of water with the salt dissolved in it and the onion to a boil.
While waiting, cut an X in the flat side of each chestnut, and add them to
Boil uncovered for 40 minutes.
Remove the chestnuts and, when cool enough to handle, peel the skin
(inside and outside). Discard the boiling liquid.
Squeeze out all the garlic cloves and combine them with the chestnuts in a
food processor. Chop roughly.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and saute the celery and the crushed
red pepper until the celery is soft. Add the chestnut-garlic mixture and the sherry.
Bring the sherry to a boil for 1 minute, than add the stock, bay leaves, parsley,
Cook for about 15 minutes.
Strain the soup and puree the solids. Return the puree to the pot along
with the half-and-half. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a simmer, and hold it there for about 30 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with croutons.
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