About this recipe:This recipe uses sweet chestnuts and wild lovage to create a delicious, comforting and warming soup. Make sure you pick sweet chestnuts which are deliciously edible and versatile. If you can't find the lovage use the leafy tops of celery heads and about 5cm (2 in) of the top of the celery stalks.
125g roasted sweet chestnuts, finely chopped (see tip)
125g chopped lovage leaves or celery leaves and thin stalks
1L chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
200ml milk, cream, creme fraiche or semi-skimmed milk
chopped curly parsley to sprinkle as garnish
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:30min › Ready in:45min
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, chestnuts and lovage and cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions are soft. Pour in the stock, seasoning and herbs. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend until you reach a desired consistency using a food processor or hand held blender. Return to a clean pan if necessary and reheat.
When ready to serve, ladle into warmed bowls and add 2 tablespoons of milk/cream followed by a sprinkle of parsley.
With a sharp knife make a cross on the domed part of the chestnut(s) roast in a pre-heated oven at 180 C / Gas 4 for 15 minutes. This will make peeling easy but be careful as the nuts will be HOT and work quickly as the warmer the nut, the easier to peel. I sometimes scoop out the contents of the nut if it's to be chopped using a small teaspoon.