Creamy chestnut soup is a lovely way to begin a special meal or to chase away a chill on a long winter afternoon.

3/4 cup butter
1 cup celery
1/2 cup carrots
1-1/2 cup onions
1 teaspoon salt
3 10-ounce cans water-packed cooked chestnuts
2 quarts chicken stock*
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup dry Madeira
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, fresh

Wash and dice the celery, carrots and onions.

Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in a Dutch oven. Add the celery, carrots and onions and stir until the onions become transparent and the carrots and celery become wilted but not browned. Add the chestnuts (including the liquid), chicken stock and salt.

Cover the Dutch oven and bring the contents to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the chestnuts and vegetables are soft, approximately 45 – 60 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables and broth to a food mill, food processor or blender. You want to purée the vegetables to a coarse texture; so if you’re using a food processor or blender, use a pulse mode. If you’re using a food mill, the fine disk does a splendid job.

Return your purée to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk the remaining butter into the purée 1 teaspoon at a time.

Whisk the egg yolks, Madeira and cream together in a small bowl. Temper the mixture by adding, a few tablespoons at a time, the hot chestnut purée to the egg yolk mixture and whisk thoroughly. The point is to heat the egg yolks so they will mix into and thicken the contents of the Dutch oven, instead of cooking into clumps. Once your egg yolk mixture is warmed, whisk it into the Dutch oven.

Whisk and cook the soup until it’s piping hot but NOT boiling. If you boil this soup at this stage it will destroy the luxurious texture.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with parsley.

Reheat any leftover soup very gently in a lidded saucepan over low heat.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings.

*Use a strong chicken stock for this recipe, as opposed to chicken broth. Chicken broth does not possess the flavor and texture that makes this soup special and satisfying.

*Magic: this recipe is exclusive to I Love You Recipes. It is from my personal, unpublished collection.

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