Chestnut Soup with Grappa Cream
- ACTIVE: 35 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 15 MIN
- SERVINGS: 10 first-course servings
Growing up in Italy's Marche region, luscious soup. Incredibly creamy, it's best served in small cups as an hors d'oeuvre.
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- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
- 2 medium shallots, sliced (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup diced peeled celery root
- 1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced
- One 14-ounce jar vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 1/4 cup Cognac
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 sage sprig
- 1 thyme sprig, plus 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, for garnish
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons grappa
- In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the pancetta and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and celery root and cook until the celery root is just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, leaving the pancetta and fat in the saucepan.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the saucepan along with the mushrooms and all but 2 tablespoons of the chestnuts. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are slightly softened, 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the chicken stock and the celery root mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the Cognac and cook until evaporated, 2 minutes.
- Add the bay leaf, sage and thyme sprigs to the saucepan along with the remaining 3 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the pancetta, bay leaf, sage and thyme.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until creamy and smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan. Stir in the half-and-half, season with salt and white pepper and keep warm.
- In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the grappa and season with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the soup into small bowls. Dollop the grappa cream on top, garnish with the thyme leaves and the reserved 2 tablespoons of chestnuts and serve.
For this velvety chestnut soup, Trabocchi poured a rosé from Piedmont with fresh berry flavors but also a light earthiness.