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Chestnut Soup

Chestnut Soup

Chestnut Soup is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 100 minutes
Servings: 8 Serves 6 to 8.
Wherever there are mountains in Tuscany, there are usually large chestnut woods. Mount Amiata, southern Tuscany's highest mountain, is covered with chestnut trees, as are the mountains near Pistoia and Arezzo and in the Mugello. Historically, dried chestnuts, which have the virtue of an extraordinarily long shelf life, were an important winter staple.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. pancetta, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup dried chestnuts, soaked overnight in
      lightly salted water and drained, or substitute
      steamed chestnuts
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel seed, lightly crushed
  • Leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup short-grain white rice
  • 2 oz. aged pecorino cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta cubes and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the chestnuts, fennel seed and rosemary and stir well for about 2 minutes to combine.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chestnuts almost begin to fall apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, seasoning with salt and pepper after 1 hour.

Stir in the rice and continue to simmer until the rice is cooked, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into warmed individual bowls and serve. Pass the pecorino cheese at the table.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Tuscany, by Lori De Mori (Time-Life Books, 2001).
Rated 5 out of 5 by from DEE-Luscious for weeknight or special occasion Made once per recipe and also with a couple of small adjustments. This rustic soup lets the chestnuts shine. Equally at home as a weeknight soup or on special occasion table. Make Ahead...up to the point of adding rice. Reheat when ready, bring to a boil, add rice and finish. Ingredient notes: 1) I used fresh roasted chestnuts since they are in seasson and upped the amount from 1C to about 1 1/4C. 2) Don't substitute long grain rice for the short grain called for; It is the extra starch content of the short grain that helps give this soup the lovely texture. Adjustments we liked: 1) Increased pancetta from 2 oz to 3 oz. 2) Reduced rice from 1C to a scant 3/4C. 3) Thought it needed a touch of acid so used about 1 TBSP or so of sweet vermouth stirred in at the end to add acid and echo the bit of sweetness in chestnuts. A keeper!
Date published: 2014-11-02
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