For soup recipe number 3, i decided to revisit (and change up) a recipe i made a few years ago, for chestnut soup. This version is similar in it's creation to split pea and ham soup, however the nutty sweetness of the chestnuts really brings this soup into a completely different dimension. The combination of smokey ham and sweet chestnuts is a great match, and creates a complex flavor base, and a great starter for a winter dinner party. For me, it's lunch!
A note on chestnuts: i don't think i took the easiest route in shelling them. It took, literally, hours to shell 1kg of chestnuts, and would have been longer without the help of a reluctant assistant (thanks mum!). So don't take the way that i shell them as gospel.
- 1 kg fresh chestnuts or 500gm chestnut puree
- 1 smoked ham hock (approx 400gm)
- 2 carrots
- 1 tomato
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1/2 head celery
- 2 cloves
- Salt and pepper to taste
MethodShell the chestnuts by cutting a slit into them and peeling off the shell.
Place the chestnuts in a medium saucepan and just cover with water.
Bring the water to the boil and cook until chestnuts are tender throughout
Leave the chestnuts to cook until you are able to handle them, and remove the fibrous outside.
Place the chestnuts in a blender and puree with enough water to create a thick paste.
Coarsely chop all of the vegetables.
In a large stockpot, add the pasley, celery, tomato, cloves, carrots and the ham hock.
Barely cover with water and bring to the boil.
Reduce to a bare simmer and let cook for 2 hours.
Remove the ham hock and when cool enough, flake the meat from the bone, discarding the skin and set aside meat.
Drain the stock from the vegetables, keeping both.
Add some of the vegetables to bulk out the soup and about 1.5 litres of stock.
Puree until smooth.
Mix through the shredded ham, saving some for garnish.
Serve the soup hot, with ham garnish and cracked pepper.