[Chestnut and Chorizo Soup]
This recipe comes from the book “Mes Petits Plats Préférés”, by Trish Deseine. She is definitely one of my favorite cookbook authors : her recipes are simple but inventive, and I love her personal and friendly voice. She is also the author of my all-time fave cookbook “Je veux du chocolat!”, which I’ve mentioned in the past. I recently met her at the signing of her latest book, titled “J’en veux encore”, and was delighted to see that she is as open and friendly in real life as her books lead you to believe.
I was leafing through that book looking for something else when this recipe jumped at me. It sounded like the perfect way to use the chorizo we bought in Spain, as well as the chestnuts that had been sitting in my freezer for a while.
Maxence and I have embarked on an ambitious Empty-The-Freezer Project, as it is in dire need of defrosting. Surprisingly, it turns out to be a lot of fun, as we work our way through its contents (you wouldn’t believe the amount of things we had in there), trying to find the most efficient ways to use things up. We regularly update each other on our progress : “ETF Project status report. I killed the asparagus and the steamed dumplings”. “Copy that”, replies the other. We may be watching 24 a little too intensively lately.
Warm and fuzzy feeling #1 : I had everything on hand to make this soup, a personal satisfaction beyond words. The original recipe for this soup calls for carrots, but I used turnips instead as I had some cute young ones on hand. I also decided to add some parsley for color and flavor.
Warm and fuzzy feeling #2 : The soup turned out fantastic. Not very spring-like, but in Paris the summer reaches us in progressive waves, with promising sunny days followed by chilly setbacks, and this is the perfect soup for a low tide evening. The soft sweetness of the chestnuts and turnips is a great match for the salty and spicy chorizo. The soup is a beautiful orange color (the use of carrots in place of turnips would accentuate that even more) with flecks of green. And I left it chunky, because nothing can quite compare to the pleasure of biting into a nice big piece of chestnut. Except maybe biting into a nice big piece of chorizo.
Soupe de Châtaigne au Chorizo
– 150 g chorizo (a spicy dry sausage from Spain)
– 300 g young turnips
– 1 celery stalk
– 1 onion
– 2 cloves garlic
– a 470 g can of whole peeled tomatoes
– 300 g peeled chestnuts, raw or cooked
– 1 L (4 C) boiling water
– 8 stalks of fresh flat-leaf parsley
– salt, pepper
– olive oil
Peel and chop the onion and the garlic cloves. Scrub, trim and slice the turnips. Rinse and chop the celery stalk. Remove the chorizo’s outer skin and cut the chorizo in slices.
Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, chorizo, turnips and celery. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables are softened and slightly caramelized.
Add in the contents of the can of tomatoes, juice included. Crush the whole tomatoes a little with a wooden spoon. If you are using raw chestnuts, add them now. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the hot water. If you are using cooked chestnuts, add them now. Cover and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
Rinse and chop the parsley leaves. Stir half of it into the soup. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency (chunky is good for this soup). Add in more water if needed, and adjust the seasoning.
Ladle warm soup into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve with slices of country bread.
Recipe adapted from “Mes Petits Plats Préférés” by Trish Deseine.