It was a beef tenderloin Christmas at our house, friends! If I have ever needed a vegetarian meal, it’s today. Michael and I have been happily eating steak since Thursday – steak & eggs, steak sandwiches, even steak salad. Call it the carnivore’s dilemma, but this lady is craving something plant-based for lunch.
This soup is exactly what I had in mind. Aside from the chestnuts, you may have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. If you haven’t cooked with chestnuts before, give them a try. You don’t have to roast them over an open fire; I found these steamed, peeled and vacuum packed at Whole Foods. Chestnuts contain very little fat, but puréed or blended, they add a creamy texture to the soup. In this recipe, they’re a healthy and flavorful alternative to heavy whipping cream.
This is a beautiful and rustic vegetarian dish. It’s completely adaptable to a vegan diet, as well – just substitute vegetable stock and almond milk. Add a salad of mixed-greens and tomorrow’s Meatless Monday is served.
Roasted Carrot & Chestnut Soup
Adapted from Sippity Sup
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chestnuts, steamed, peeled and rough chopped
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more for seasoning and croutons
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning and croutons
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup 1% milk (2% would also work, whatever you have in the house)
1/4 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
4 thick slices of rustic bread, cubed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the onions and carrots on a baking sheet with the thyme. Season with salt, pepper, smoked paprika and coat with 2 tbsps olive oil. Roast until lightly caramelized and tender when pierced with a knife, about 35 – 40 minutes. Allow the vegetables cool slightly, then combine with the chestnuts in a medium bowl, tossing to mix.
Place 1/3 of the mixture in a blender. Add 1 cup of stock and process to a smooth puree. Pour into a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Add another 1/3 of the mixture along with 1 cup stock to the blender. Pulse the mixture to the desired consistency (I prefer mine relatively smooth). Add this to the soup pot and repeat with the remaining carrot & chestnut mixture and 1 more cup stock. Add this final mixture to the stock pot as well as the remaining cup of stock. Add the wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, prepare the croutons. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Spread the cubed bread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper. Toss well.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the cubes are golden, tossing once or twice while baking.
To finish the soup, add the milk, stir to combine, and remove from the heat. Adjust seasoning one last time. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with croutons.