This soup marries three flavors I love: chestnuts, sherry and porcini. They just work brilliantly together. If you cannot find fresh porcini, use frozen; if you cannot find frozen use dried; if you cannot find dried, use shiitakes; if you can’t find shiitakes you should consider lobbying for better shopping in your neighborhood.
You should be able to find chestnuts at your local farmers market, if you are located on the east coast. If not, Earthfare in Athens, Ga has them in and you should also be able to find them at Whole Foods. Conventional grocery stores have cans of roasted and peeled chestnuts, just be sure that you do not get water chestnuts.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
4 branches celery, peeled and minced celery
1 russet potato, peeled and diced to 1 inch
½ pound fresh porcinis, brushed of any dirt and cut to 1 inch dice
½ pound fresh button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup dry sherry
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
1 cup (about 12) chestnuts, roasted, peeled and chopped
bouquet of thyme and parsley
2 bay leaves
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place a heavy soup pot or rondeau over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot and when the butter begins to bubble and froth, add the onions and celery and sweat down for 10 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 10 minutes. Once the mushrooms are sautéed down a fair bit add the sherry and reduce for 5 minutes.
3. Add potato and chestnuts to pan and cook for 10 more minutes. At this point you add the chicken stock, the bouquet and the bay leaf and cover. Cook until potato is tender, about 15 minutes.
4. While still on heat add the cream. Remove bouquet and bay leaves using a slotted spoon or tongs. Remove soup from heat.
5. Season the soup and then carefully puree it in a blender. Pass through a fine chinois for a smoother texture.
A lighter bodied American Pinot Noir: Au Bon Climat 2008 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2008
an Alsatian Pinot Gris would go really well with this soup too.