2 cups cooked chestnuts (from one 14.8-ounce vacuum-packed jar)
1 cup ruby port
1 thyme sprig
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a medium sauce-pan. Add the carrot, celery and onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for 4 minutes. Add the port and thyme and cook over moderately high heat until the port is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig.
Add the cream to the soup. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
A tart California sparkling wine will contrast with this creamy soup.