Looking for a recipe for a comforting bowl of fall or winter soup? This hearty roasted chestnut and mushroom soup recipe is a real autumn and winter favourite.
You know autumn has started when the leaves of the trees are slowly turning into the most beautiful hues of yellow, red and brown. The ground is covered with spiky yellow-green husks that reveal their ripe seeds, or sweet chestnuts within. Already as a child I could not wait for autumn to come around to start looking for chestnuts in the forest. And still to this day, I keep following that tradition.
Autumn is also the time street vendors take out their portable grills and start roasting and selling chestnuts on every corner in the larger cities or at Christmas markets. With the smell of roasting chestnuts, among other things, you know that Christmas is just around the corner.
I always used to either roast chestnuts or even eat them raw, which is only for the true fans of the bitter taste, since the inner skin hardly comes off and can taste really powerful when not roasted. Only recently I discovered the lovely dishes that can be prepared with chestnuts. Due to their sweet aroma they are used a lot in sweet dishes, but in my opinion, they can easily be used to add a sweet touch to a savoury dish. Have you ever tried a pesto made with chestnuts? Then try this arugula pesto with roasted chestnuts, it’s just divine and a great alternative to a regular pesto sauce.
Which chestnuts are edible?
Most people will buy their chestnuts at a local market or in a supermarket which is when you can be sure they’re edible. When foraging for chestnuts in a forest be sure to only take the edible ones. The husks are covered with very sharp, flexible spikes and carry two to three nuts inside. It is best to squeeze them open with the shoes on your feet.
How to roast chestnuts
Roasting chestnuts can either be done in an oven, in a skillet on the stove or over a grill with hot coals. As a child, my parents had a wood burning fire place. I would wrap each chestnut in tin foil and I would place them in the middle of the fire for about 10 minutes. As you notice, there are lots of different ways to roast chestnuts. Nowadays, when I am at home, I prefer roasting chestnuts in a pan on the stove. So what are the steps to take? Either read more about it in this post about how to roast chestnuts at home, or read the following steps:
- Use a pairing knife to score one side of each chestnut over the entire length. Just make an incision through the outer skin of the nut.
- Place a skillet on medium heat and dry roast the chestnuts for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the thickness, until the nut is nice and soft. Make sure to stir regularly in order not to burn the skin.
- Place the hot nuts in a separate bowl and leave to cool for half a minute. Start peeling the skin when the chestnuts are still hot otherwise it will be difficult to remove the skin. So work carefully.
- The outer skin will come off easily. However, depending on the nut, the inner skin might be more difficult. Don’t worry too much if the whole skin doesn’t come off properly, it won’t alter the taste of the soup.
Roasting the chestnuts yourself before using them in a soup is a bit of work but so rewarding. The roasting brings out the sweet flavour of the nut which will add a bigger flavour dimension to the soup. So count on some time to peel the chestnuts, ask other family members to help you, or let the children have fun peeling them.
How to make mushroom and chestnut soup?
Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Take a medium sized pot and warm a tablespoon of olive oil in it on medium heat. Add chopped onions and minced garlic and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the peeled and roasted chestnuts as well as the chopped mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
Tip: I normally use olive oil for cooking, but feel free to use any other cooking oil or butter according to personal preference.
Add stock, bay leaves and thyme in the pot, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. I have used vegetable stock for this chestnut and mushroom soup recipe, however chicken stock will do really well as well. You can either use homemade stock, store bought stock, or just water with chicken or vegetable stock cubes. Count on 2 stock cubes per litre of water. When the soup has finished cooking, use a hand held electric mixer to mix it in the pot or ladle everything into a table top blender to make the soup really nice and smooth.
I have used dried thyme for this recipe, but if you have fresh thyme at home you can use a few sprigs of that instead. The thyme flavour will be more intense than with dried thyme, so make your choice according to personal preference.
Optionally, you can add some thyme to the butter fried mushroom garnish. It provides this chestnut mushroom soup with some nice extra flavour. Thinly slice the mushrooms, then melt some butter in a skillet and sauté them on medium heat until golden brown on both sides. I prefer to fry mushrooms in unsalted butter instead of olive oil. Add a few slices to each bowl just before serving and season with freshly ground black pepper
How to serve roasted chestnut & mushroom soup
Serve the soup hot with some freshly chopped parsley, basil or thyme leaves and farmhouse bread or french loaf. The optional sautéed in butter mushroom slices can also add some extra flavour to this recipe.
Roasted chestnut and mushroom soup
- 7 ounces (or 200 grams) roasted chestnuts peeled (=10 oz or 285 grams of unpeeled chestnuts)
- 3.5 ounces (or 100 grams) mushrooms chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 cups (or 1 litre) vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 ounce (or 40 grams) mushrooms thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the roasted chestnuts
- Use a pairing knife to score the full length of the round side of each chestnut. Put a skillet on medium heat, add the scored chestnuts and dry roast for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.
- Place the roasted chestnuts in a bowl and leave 30 seconds to cool. Remove the outer and inner skin. Be careful since they are hot, but you have to do this when hot otherwise the skin doesn't come off very easily. Set aside.
For the soup
- Sweat the diced onions and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes in a pot on medium heat. Add the roasted and peeled chestnuts and chopped mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes. Add the stock, bay leaves and thyme and cook covered for 20 minutes on medium/low heat.
- After cooking, remove the bay leaves and blend into a smooth soup. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
For the mushroom garnish (optional)
- In a pan, melt butter over medium heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Turn regularly for 2 minutes until both sides are browned.
- Serve as a topping in each bowl before serving.
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