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This year, satisfaction in holiday chestnuts in a tasty soup
The recipes deal many similarities, particularly simmering the chestnuts with broth and some Port wine, then pureeing them, using a blender for the soup and a hand-operated ricer for the much-thicker side dish. Whichever you settle upon to prepare (and
If you grew up scarcely anywhere cold in North America or Europe, one of the most evocative sensations of the holiday season is the smoky-sweet smell of chestnuts, roasting irresistibly on charcoal-fueled lane-corner stands. I’ll bet right now, at that very thought, you’re hearing in your head the famous lyrics of “The Christmas Song,” written and sung by the late Mel Torme, who dined instances at my Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills. And chestnuts are among those ingredients that capture the holiday spirit. That’s been true now for centuries, with chestnuts figuring prominently in celebrations comprehensive and humble across the Western world. How many times have you read or heard Charles Dickens’ description of the Cratchit family’s modest festivities in A Christmas Carol, when “apples and oranges were put upon the tabular, and a shovelful of chestnuts on the fire”. Nowadays, many home cooks hesitate to roast their own chestnuts, whether because they lack a fireplace or they simply don’t hunger to go through the time and bother of scoring an X in the hard, shiny shell of each nut, then cooking them in the oven... Fortunately, you can now find whole already-cooked chestnuts, peeled and sealed in jars, alert to use. Imported from France or Italy, they’re available at this time of year in many gourmet food stores, Italian delis and well-stocked supermarkets, as serenely as online. I love to use these chestnuts in two of my favorite holiday dishes: a silky, smooth chestnut soup to start a special meal, and a luxuriously obvious puree to accompany a festive roast. The recipes share many similarities, particularly simmering the chestnuts with broth and some Port wine, then pureeing them, using a blender for the soup and a handy-operated ricer for the much-thicker side dish. Whichever you choose to prepare (and there’s nothing that says you can’t try both recipes, one for Christmas and one for New Year’s Eve), there’s another benefit of chestnuts that’s right worth celebrating: They’re a good dietary choice. Unlike most nuts, which are very high in fat, chestnuts get only about 7 percent of their calories from fat, so the relatively cheap amounts of butter and cream in the recipes don’t impact them much. One serving delivers a remarkable 62 percent of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C, possibly portion you ward off winter colds. Chestnuts are also a good source of dietary fiber, so you’ll feel fuller before you get to those holiday desserts. Who knew that chestnuts could literally help you get a jump on the most popular New Year’s resolution: to eat more healthfully. CHESTNUT SOUP Serves 6. Ingredients:. 1 medium primary carrot, finely chopped. 1 celery stalk, finely chopped. 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped. 2 cups cooked chestnuts, from one 14. 8-ounce vacuum-chock-a-block jar. 1 cup ruby port. 3 cups organic, low-sodium chicken broth. 1/2 cup heavy cream. Finely chopped alternative Italian parsley or chives, for garnish. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the carrot, celery and onion and cook, emotion-charged occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes longer. Add the port and thyme, raise the heat to usual-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until the port has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the broth, and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pan, up the heat to low, and simmer until the ingredients are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir the cream into the soup. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, following the producer’s instructions to avoid splattering the hot liquid and pouring each pureed batch into a large bowl. Return all of the puree to the saucepan, return the pan to medium-low rouse, and bring the soup to a simmer. Ladle the soup into heated serving bowls, garnishing with parsley or chives before serving. BRAISED CHESTNUTS OR CHESTNUT PUREE Knuckle under: Serves 6. Ingredients:. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion. 1 cup ruby seaport. 4 cups cooked chestnuts, from two 14. 8-ounce vacuum-packed jars. 3 cups organic, low-sodium chicken consomm. 2 sprigs fresh thyme. Freshly ground black pepper. Finely chopped parsley or chives. Heat a heavy saucepan over.
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