This Advent season is by far the most beautiful for years! We had snow almost every other day and our view over the ever changing waters of the lake below and the mountains in the distance keep surprising me day after day. I made lots of yummy cookies and the house was filled with smells of roasted nuts, chocolate and vanilla. Last week we visited Vienna with its amazing Christmas lights in the streets and Christkíndlmarkets. In only two days we managed to get a real deep breath of Viennese air in to fill our tanks to the fullest. If you have not been to Vienna before Christmas you must plan to go and we are happy to provide you with walks around the city and tips for your visit. During our stay we had a lovely dinner invitation and the privilege to see a beautiful home with amazing paintings usually only seen in museums. This soup was served as an appetizer and I asked the hostess to share this recipe with me. I only changed minor steps.
For the rest of my life I will link the taste of chestnut soup with the famous director Michael Haneke and his beautiful wife Susie. They were there for dinner as well and so easy to talk to. I told him in order to be prepared for the dinner that evening I saw his price winning movie l'Amour. The way I said it, I can only tell you in German. "Wir haben uns gestern ihren Film ...", and he finished the sentence: 'Reingezogen?' Yes! It was quite late and by the time we got to bed it was already one o'clock. It was a memorable evening. And here is the prize winning Chestnut Soup!
Preparation time 1 hour
Cooking time 25 minutes
For 12-15 servings
500g frozen, precooked whole chestnuts
200g frozen chestnut puree
100g shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
500g celery bulb, peeled and cut in chunks
2 cl Amaretto
120 ml dry white wine
2 l vegetable broth, made from 2 packs of roots
250 ml apple juice
500ml heavy cream
juice of ½ lemon
salt, cayenne pepper, 3 bay leaves
tbsp.. of butter 4-5 chestnuts cut in slices
Make first the 2 l base for the soup with the vegetables, I roast the vegetables until the flavors are released, then I add the water and let it boil on medium heat and small bubbles until tender. Drain and keep the soup for later.
In a separate bowl reduce the Amaretto and white wine to half of the liquid.
In a large pot the celery, shallots and garlic are roasted in butter for about 6 minutes. The chestnuts, both are added, the vegetable broth poured into the pot, now add the apple juice and the reduced alcohol cook with the bay leaves, salt and pepper on medium heat for about 20 – 25 minutes.
When the celery is tender, blend it really well in your mixer on high speed. If you do not have a strong enough mixer, please send the liquid through a sieve. I used a Blendtec and it does the job perfectly. the lemon juice gives this soup such a nice tang and covers the heavy notes of the chestnuts.
Finish with the liquid cream and season to your taste.
I kept some of the Chestnuts and cut them in thin slices, roasted them in a tbsp.. of butter for decoration together with the chopped parsley.