Chestnut & Sage Soup

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I made this Chestnut & Sage Soup for my Christmas Eve vegetarian dinner party. It’s a River Cottage recipe that I also saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall make whilst at the ‘Taste of Christmas’ show.

I found it really easy to make and it was really creamy and delicious – almost mushroomy in flavour. I also made some garlic and herb crostini to accompany the soup – I like croutons in my soup – they add a nice crunch and are a little more exciting than plain old bread for dunking!

Here is what you need to make chestnut and sage soup to serve 4 people…

  • 3tbsps olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 15g butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 400g cooked, peel chestnuts
  • 100ml crème fraîche
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the garlic and herb crostini…

  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • rosemary and sage finely chopped

I did cheat and buy some ready made vegetable stock, but making your own is very easy – I just didn’t have time when I made the soup!

Begin by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter in a pan over a medium-low heat and sweat the onions for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent.

Add the roughly chopped sage and sauté for a minute.

Add the chestnuts, but reserve a handful for garnishing, then add the stock.

Season with salt and pepper then increase the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before using a hand held blender to blitz everything smooth. You could also use a blender or food processor.

Once smooth, add the crème fraîche and adjust the season if needed. Return the soup to the heat and warm through gently, but don’t allow it to boil.

Slice up your reserved chestnuts. In a small frying pan, heat up a little olive oil and sauté some sage leaves for a few seconds until crisp. Drain them on kitchen paper.

I served my soup from a tureen, but you can dish up into the bowls and sprinkle in the sliced chestnuts and sage leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

To make the crostini, slice the ciabatta into 1cm pieces and lay on a greased baking tray, then drizzle ove some olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes until golden. Cut the garlic clove in half and using the cut side, rub it all over the bread. Sprinkle over the chopped herbs. All done!

Serve the crostini on the side, or float on top of the soup. Delicious!

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