I love the holidays… not like, not get moderately excited over… I GET FRIGGIN PUMPED! It matters not that stores start putting up trees and lights and pumping Mariah Carey the day after Halloween, my excitement will not die! I’ve been extremely fortunate to have the fondest memories of the holidays from childhood till today. They haven’t always been filled with the most pleasant of situations, with myriads of presents, with the best health, or someone to snuggle under the mistletoe with – but they have always been filled with love, with togetherness, with hope, and with promise. Whatever your religious convictions… it’s my sincerest wish that all your holiday seasons are filled with laughter, music, togetherness, good food, new beginnings and most of all… hope.
Now back to the food… today marks the beginning of a beautiful festive food journey. From now until Christmas I’ll be posting recipes everyday that are twists on quintessential holiday foods and bevies.
It’s gonna be a Festivus miracle! Especially if I can manage to post everyday.
I want comments about traditions, about things you’re thankful for, about your holiday wishes for all the fabulous people that read this blog, about your go-to holiday recipes… all of it… I want it! It’s a party, and you’re all invited.
Today’s recipe is an adaptation of Martha Stewart’s. I changed up the mushroom quotient, added spices and herbs.
Making this recipe left me with one thought… Dearest Nat King Cole, you wouldn’t have been singing so passionately about chestnuts roasting, had you ever tried to shell said chestnuts. It was kind of a bear.
The mushrooms are totally up to you, up to what your grocer has, up to your level of shroom enjoyment. The dried porcinis can either be reconstituted or thrown in to the mix. You will have to be careful with the dirt in draining if you don’t reconstitute them prior to cooking.
It’s delicious and rich and truly heart warming… enjoy!
Mushroom Chestnut Soup
1 pound fresh chestnuts
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
4 ounces mushroom blend, crimini, shiitake, oyster
0.5 ounces dried Porcini mushrooms
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 sprigs fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2 cups heavy cream
fresh sage, rosemary, and chopped chestnuts for optional garnish
Sour cream, for optional garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a paring knife, make an incision in each chestnut about 1/8-inch deep through the shell and into the flesh, cutting almost all the way around nut. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until chestnuts are tender when pierced with the paring knife, about 20 minutes. Turn off oven. Leaving sheet in oven, remove several chestnuts at a time. Working quickly, place each chestnut in a kitchen towel, and remove and discard shell and inner skin.
Roughly chop all but 4 shiitake mushrooms. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with olive oil in a small stockpot over medium-high. Add chopped mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, thyme sprigs, rosemary and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add all but 4 peeled chestnuts, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add stock and the water, raise heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until chestnuts are falling-apart tender, about 1 hour. Remove and discard thyme sprigs, and let soup cool slightly.
Pass soup through a fine sieve into a bowl; transfer solids in batches to a food processor or blender, and puree until completely smooth. Add strained liquid, and process 1 minute. Return soup to stockpot, and season with salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Cut the remaining 4 chestnuts and 4 mushrooms into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté sliced chestnuts and mushrooms until crisp and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Just before serving, heat soup over low. Stir in cream, and remove from heat. Ladle soup into shallow bowls; garnish with sautéed chestnuts and mushrooms, thyme leaves and sour cream.
How could I leave you without the greatest version of The Christmas Song? Seriously, Nat kills it. The reverb in his voice… melts me!