“I made this recipe for Christmas Eve supper, shared with my mother. I'd never roasted chestnuts before and -in truth- never eaten them. I brought some home from the supermarket and learned how to get them out of their shells by roasting them in the oven, enjoyed their flavor, and decided to make a holiday bisque for a celebratory meal. It really came out rich and earthy, perfectly complimenting the shellfish that were pureed into the stock and tasted wonderful! It's complicated, but worth it for special occasions.”
READY IN:
1hr 30mins
SERVES:
6-8
YIELD:
6-8
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees (Fahrenheit).
  2. While the oven is warming up, using a paring knife, very carefully cut an "X" across the flattest surface of each chestnut. Be sure to pierce the shell, but don't push too hard to rush yourself, or you may slip with the knife.
  3. On a pan with raised edges (or a cookie sheet with some aluminum foil -shiny side up- crimped to form raised edges, on it) place the chestnuts, "X"-side up. Place them in the heated oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Keep an eye on the chestnuts. You will know they are done when most of them have peeled back along the "X"-marks, opening up like the petals of a flower just a tiny bit to expose the meat of the nut, inside. (In my oven, this takes about 23 minutes; get used to your oven's quirks the first few times you try roasting your own chestnuts.).
  5. Remove the chestnuts and cover them with aluminum foil, shiny-side down. Leave them like this for 10-15 minutes to steam. This will help loosen the shells and skins, inside.
  6. Remove the aluminum foil and, carefully (they will still be hot; you may need to wear gloves or use oven mitts) peel the shells away. Be sure to get the brown skins underneath as well. Sometimes, half the shell will come away and you can just pop the meat out in one piece. Other times you will have to use a small fork to gently coax the meat of the chestnut, out.
  7. Once the chestnuts have been shelled, melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter in a skillet over medium-low heat.
  8. Once the butter starts to brown, add the chestnuts and season with a pinch of salt. Saute the relatively pale meat of the chestnuts this way until they brown on the edges and their aroma (already strong from their time in the oven) is even more intense.
  9. Remove the chestnuts from the skillet and place them in a blender. Finely grind them on a low setting using slow, steady pulses until you have a mealy pile of pieces.
  10. Add the chicken broth to the blender, cover, and puree until smooth. NOTE: If you prefer, this recipe works nicely with vegetable stock instead of chicken but seems to work best with root vegetables in the stock (turnips, onions, parsnips, etc -- ) Use your best judgment and your own favorite when substituting!
  11. Push the liquid, slowly, through a fine-mesh sieve in batches, using a rubber spatula to gently coax the liquid through while preventing any remaining pieces of shell from getting into your final product. The resulting liquid will be fairly thick and light brown. This is your roast chestnut soup base.
  12. Cut the carrot, half onion, and celery into a small dice.
  13. In a skillet over medium heat, melt two tablespoons of butter. Saute the carrot, onion, and celery in this butter, but also season with salt and pepper.
  14. After the vegetables soften, add a teaspoon -each- of Spanish paprika and herbs de provence. Stir them into the vegetables and coat, thoroughly. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  15. Peel and de-vein the shrimp, saving the shells and tails. Chop the meat from the shrimp into small pieces, season with a pinch of salt, and add them to the skillet with the vegetables and herbs. Saute until the shrimp meat is opaque.
  16. Dice the two tomatoes into cubes and add them to the skillet with the shrimp. Cook until the tomatoes start to fall apart. Remove from the heat.
  17. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, bring the three cups of chicken broth to a simmer and add the reserved shrimp shells and tails. Cover over low heat and simmer for 45 minutes. This will infuse the broth with the flavor of the shrimp.
  18. Once the broth is done simmering, remove from the heat and take out the shrimp shells and discard them. Pour the broth into your blender. Add the vegetables and shrimp to the blender and puree until as smooth as possible.
  19. Strain the liquid to remove thick chunks. NOTE: For this, you may need a strainer with slightly larger holes than you did for the chestnuts.
  20. Return the strained liquid to pot on the stove and whisk in the roast chestnut soup base over medium heat. Stir, lightly, until it reaches a simmer.
  21. Serve, hot.

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