This warming soup is popular in the chestnut-growing regions of France. Enjoy it freshly made on a cool winter evening, or freeze it for a quick dinner during the week.
1 pound chestnuts
2 tablespoons butter
5 shallots (about 1 cup), peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2–3 large turnips (about 2 cups), peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4–5 stems fresh thyme
1/2 cup whole cream
Score each chestnut with an X. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for 10–15 minutes, until skin begins to peel back. Remove from the water and peel while they are still hot. (They will be very hot, so be careful not to burn your fingers.)
In another medium-size pot, place the butter, shallots, carrots, turnips and salt over medium heat. Place the lid on the pot and sweat the vegetables for 5–10 minutes, until they are soft—don’t allow them to brown.
Add the chestnuts, chicken broth, nutmeg and thyme to the pot. Cook for 35–40 minutes, until the chestnuts are tender. Remove the thyme stalks and puree the soup mixture.
Adjust the seasonings.
Serve with a drizzle of cream on each bowl.