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November 20, 2007
I know just how hard it can be to change even one dish on any family's traditional Thanksgiving menu - it took me years to get rid of our dread stringbean-swiss cheese-cornflake-topped casserole even though no one really wanted to eat it anymore. Traditions can be like that. So, knowing that, I wouldn't dare suggest that you give up whatever soup you normally make for the holiday and turn to this one, but if you're undecided in the soup department, here's a winner.
As soon as I tasted this soup - which would have been in 1998 when I was working with Daniel Boulud on The Cafe Boulud Cookbook - I knew it was going to knock my traditional carrot soup off the T-day menu.
The soup is a mix of chestnuts (I used jarred chestnuts), celery
root and apple. It's a great combination and it can be served as is or
it can be dressed up with a few add-ins. Daniel suggests some shredded
duck confit, thin strips of prosciutto, sliced truffles or cubes of
foie gras, but some nice little croutons tossed with minced thyme would
be good too.
If you don't have room for this soup on Thursday's menu, hold onto
the recipe - Christmas and New Year's Eve are just around the
Chestnut, Celery Root and Apple Soup
from The Cafe Boulud Cookbook
Makes 6 to 8 servings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced, washed and dried
2 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
10 ounces celery root, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3/4 pound peeled fresh chestnuts (from about 1 1/4 pounds chestnuts
in the shell) or dry-packed bottled or vacuum-sealed peeled chestnuts
2 quarts chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the oil in a stockpot or large casserole over medium heat. Add
the onion, leek, apples, celery root, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg and salt
and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10
minutes, or until the onions and leeks are soft but not colored. Add
the chestnuts and chicken stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat
to a simmer and cook, skimming the surface regularly, for 35 to 40
minutes, or until the chestnuts can be mashed easily with a fork. Add
the heavy cream and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more, then remove from
the heat and discard the bay leaf and thyme.
Puree the soup until smooth using a blender or a food processor, and
working in batches if necessary, then pass it through a fine-mesh
strainer. You should have about 2 quarts soup. If you have more, or
if you think the soup is too thin -- it should have the consistency of
a veloute or light cream soup - simmer it over medium heat until
slightly thickened. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning.
(The soup can be cooled completely and stored in a covered container in
the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or frozen for up to one month. Bring
the soup to a boil before serving.)
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| November 21, 2007 2:00 PM
Two of my picky-eater Tgiving guests wouldn't touch that soup, but I'm definitely going to make it for my husband and me. Sounds fabulous. And: Happy Thanksgiving!
| November 21, 2007 2:22 PM
I've got years and years of experience with one particular picky eater and here's the good news - he's finally come around and he doesn't just eat this soup now, he likes it! I always think of the adage: Perseverance brings good fortune. In this case, it brought good taste.
I hope you and your family will have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm sure it will be delicious - with or without this soup.
| November 21, 2007 4:09 PM
Dorie -- Thanks for the recipe! The soup part of the meal was still up in the air, but you came to the rescue :-)
Also, I'll be making three recipes from your book, Baking, for dessert (the sour cream pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and cranberry upside-downer).
One question -- why didn't you include weights for flour, etc. in your book? If you don't mind, do you have a standard weight for your cup of flour? I know you mentioned using the dip and sweep method, but I am a little obsessed with precision!
the zen kitchen
| November 21, 2007 4:23 PM
Dominic, I'm so delighted to hear that my recipes will be part of your Thanksgiving. Actually, I'm making the sour cream pumpkin pie (as a tart) and the pecan pie, too.
About measurements -- there's a long discussion about weights and metrics and why I didn't/couldn't use them on egullet, where there's a year-long thread about Baking From My Home to Yours
You're right, I use the dip-and-sweep method for flour, so I get a "heavy" cup.
1 cup all-purpose flour = 4.8 ounces.
I hope this helps. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
| November 21, 2007 6:01 PM
It can be so, so hard to erase those old "favorites". But I say, in with the new! I love that we usually have a small Thanksgiving dinner - just four of us, and half of them little ones, so I'm free to play with the menu each year.
I've flagged this soup recipe - I have some vacuum-packed chestnuts that need to be made delicious!
Enjoy the day...
| November 21, 2007 9:56 PM
Thanks for the link and for the weight of "your" cup of flour! I've already scribbled "1 cup flour = 4.8 ounces" in the front of the book :-)
I understand that people may be a little freaked out by seeing weights in their baking recipes, but I wonder why editors won't embrace the best of both worlds and include a page where weight measurements are included for those of us who wouldn't mind doing the calculations?
My best to you and yours this Thanksgiving!
| November 22, 2007 12:28 PM
As we all know by now, UK and US have different names for some things, I am not familiar with celery root, is this what we call celery, or is it celeriac? I can't imagine cutting celery into cubes, somehow.
| November 22, 2007 12:52 PM
Jeannette, you're right -- it would be tough to cut ribs of celery into cubes. It's celeriac that you want.
| November 22, 2007 9:30 PM
A really great soup. My dining partner said something along the lines of "complex but not daunting." Just a great interplay of flavors. I'm still musing about the garnish though. It got late here and I skipped it. I have to say the soup tasted amazing but looked a little like dirty dishwater. What did *you* garnish it with? Do you think a little fried sage would work?
| November 22, 2007 9:36 PM
Maria, you just made me laugh. I'm glad you and your dining partner liked the soup, but you're right -- it's not much in the looks department. I think fried sage, as you suggested, would be really nice with it. In the end, what I did was not add the cream to the soup while it was cooking, but, instead, I poured a little cream into the center of each bowl at serving time. What's funny is that one of our friends looked at the very brown soup and said, "I love the way the soup looks -- so much like the season."
| November 24, 2007 10:38 AM
Every single recipe was a huge hit. The soup made chestnut converts out of those in my family who swore they hated them. The baked goods (pumpkin and pecan pies and cranberry upside-downer) were all complemented with "this is the best ________ ever...where did you get the recipe?" I was happy to give you all the credit :-)
Thanks for sharing yourself on here,
the zen kitchen
| December 3, 2007 9:48 PM
I keep a running list of recipes I want to try and this recipe has been on my list for a couple of months now. It hasn't made it to the top of the list yet but I'm newly inspired by this recommendation. Plus, I've only just recently tasted celeriac for the first time and I love it which makes me all the more anxious to try this.
The Cafe Boulud Cookbook is terrific -- lots of great inspiration. I particularly liked the lemon raspberry tart recipe which I made several times this past summer.
| October 30, 2013 6:26 PM
Do you need to steam or roast the chestnuts before you peel them?
replied to comment from Nicole
| October 30, 2013 7:28 PM
Nicole, I don't think you'll be able to peel the chestnuts unless you steam or roast them first. If you can find ready-to-use chestnuts - they're steamed and vacuum-pack in jars or pouches - it will make the soup that much easier to make.
I hope you enjoy it.
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I've been having a terrible problem with spam, so to help, please fill out the CAPTCHA box below. Write your comment, enter the squished words you see in the CAPTCHA box -- don't forget to separate them by a space -- and then hit 'submit'. It's annoying, I know, but hated losing your sweet comments in the spam. Thanks so much -- xoDorie
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