Chicken and chestnut soup
SERVES 4 PREP AND COOK TIME 50 MINUTES You will need to start this recipe at least 5 hours ahead of serving.
150g dried chestnuts 2 cups (500ml) full-cream milk 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 large (200g) brown onion, chopped coarsely 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 litre (4 cups) good-quality chicken stock 2 bay leaves 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Place the chestnuts and milk in a medium saucepan; place over mediumhigh heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. Place a lid on pan and allow to stand for 1 hour to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or even overnight (see Maggie’s tips). The chestnuts should absorb some of the milk and become slightly soft. 2 Place a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then onion; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic; cook, stirring, for a further 3-4 minutes or until soft. 3 Pour in the stock, softened chestnuts along with any remaining milk – it should be about ¾ cup (180ml) – which has not been absorbed, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to the boil; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or until softened. 4 Remove thyme and bay leaves. Blend soup using a stick blender until smooth (or stand for 10 minutes before carefully pouring into a jug blender and blending until smooth). 5 Return soup to pan; stir over medium heat until hot. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Serve soup in warmed bowls; garnish with extra thyme leaves and olive oil.
Suitable to freeze at the end of Step 4. Not suitable to microwave.