I couldn’t help myself. With a bag full of chestnuts, I still had to come up with something else to use them in! So, in my first creative attempt, I decided to alter the chestnut mushroom soup that I made a few weeks ago and decided to stick to just chestnuts. The result: a slightly sweet, nutty, velvety soup that was just as mild, warming and delicious as the first attempt. I don’t think that the soup suffered from a lack of mushrooms. In fact, I think that the simplicity of it actually made it taste even better.
Here’s what went down:
I started by sauteing half an onion in a large pot in about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Added a clove or two of garlic (depending on how much you like garlic). Meanwhile, I roasted a cookie sheet’s worth of chestnuts. I put my boyfriend Matt to work shelling nuts and once we were done, I threw these into the pot and added a quart of vegetable stock. Some sea salt, ground pepper, a pinch of paprika, and a good sprinkling of dried parsley, and I let it simmer for about half an hour. Once all of the flavors seemed to be melding, I took it off the heat and ran batches through the food processor.
I think that when you start cooking, you initially stick to the recipe. No, you can’t replace the oregano with Thyme! If it says 3 garlic cloves, you stick with 3 garlic cloves. What you start to discover as you cook more and more is that experimentation can often lead to delicious results. Moreover, you feel accomplished once you actually start thinking about why some spices complement some dishes while others just don’t work.
I believe that there are two reasons to cook: 1. to feed people, thus creating happiness and warmth (and probably making a few friends if your food is good!) 2. to unleash creativity. With this soup, I was excited to achieve both and look forward to experimenting further.