Mrs. Nod and I had an unexpected treat at a snazzy little restaurant called Villa Mozart a month ago, when we ordered the Creamy Mushroom Chestnut Soup. It was a robust soup, full of creamy and earthy goodness, and with multiple taste accents dancing on the palate. It included a couple of whole chestnuts marinated in red wine at the bottom.
Ever since then I've been on the lookout for something similar to make at home. I think I've found it. It features a backbone of earthy mushrooms, chestnuts, and red bliss potatoes to which I added tender shallots and young parsnips.
Since I didn't have any "mushroom broth" I used organic chicken stock, half a cup of Merlot, and increased the cream to two full cups. I was lucky enough to have a neighbor give me fresh whole nutmeg which I grated into this heavenly dish along with fresh rosemary and sage. Fresh sage is in a word -- amazing. I marinated some halved chestnuts in Merlot and put them in when serving.
Mrs. Nod smelled me cooking this and stayed up late just to have a bowl. It's that good.
Shamelessly ripped off from Food Blogga:
This Creamy Mushroom Chestnut Soup Is Like a Best Friend
Mushroom soup should be like a good friend-- there for you when you need it, full of understanding and comfort, and spicy enough to make you laugh. Consider this Creamy Mushroom Chestnut Soup a best friend. We met rather informally last fall in my kitchen while I was entertaining a number of other friends including tender red bliss potatoes, earthy chestnuts, and aromatic sage. We liked each other instantly, and our friendship has continued to grow.
I'm not a possessive person, so I'd like to introduce you to her. She'll be one of the truest friends you've ever had.
Creamy Mushroom Chestnut Soup
Print recipe only here.
Meaty, smoky chestnuts and savory fresh herbs add depth to an otherwise ordinary, creamy mushroom soup. Use bottled, dried, or -- if you're up for the challenge -- freshly roasted chestnuts. For a richer soup, I suggest using cream; 2% milk is best if you're looking to save calories.
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 cup diced celery
2 1/2 cups peeled, diced red bliss potatoes (about 3)
8 cups mixed mushrooms, cremini and white button (about 2 1/2 pounds)
4 cups mushroom broth
8 ounces cooked chestnuts (about 20)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup cream
fresh sage, rosemary, and chopped chestnuts for optional garnish
1. Warm 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add shallots and celery, and sauté 3-5 minutes. Add potatoes and mushrooms, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until mushrooms have released most of their liquid. Add broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add chestnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper, and cream. Turn off heat, and let cool for 10 minutes before pureeing.
2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth; return to the pot over low heat. Stir occasionally until the soup is thoroughly heated, about 10 minutes. Just prior to serving, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter for added creaminess and depth of flavor. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish individual bowls with fresh herbs and chopped chestnuts, if desired.