Chestnut Bisque with Fresh Wild Mushrooms
Okay, we're getting a bit fancier and a touch more complicated. Clearly this is not a soup you'd prepare for your toddlers for lunch. On the other hand, a hot soup like this served with good bread, a cheese board, fresh fruit, and tossed greens can make an elegant dinner, particularly when there's some candlelight and soft music. This is soup to dress up for.
Use a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat to cook the bacon. When the bacon is just beginning to brown, and has started to render its fat, add the onion, celery, and carrot. Cook slowly, until the vegetables become soft.
Add the parsnip, potato, chestnuts, thyme, port, and wine. Simmer on low until reduced almost completely.
Add the chicken stock and continue cooking until the chestnuts are softened. This should take about 30 minutes.
Finish with heavy cream and remove the thyme sprigs. Puree in the blender. Strain through a fine sieve and adjust the salt and pepper. Serve hot.
2 ounces butter
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup dry white wine
1 carrot peeled and diced fine
1/2 ounce chives, chopped fine
6 large celery leaves, sliced fine
Sea salt & freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat the butter on low. Add the fresh wild mushrooms, chestnuts, white wine, and carrots. Cook over a low heat until the vegetables are soft. This should take about seven minutes. Sprinkle the chives in.
To serve, place the garnish in mounds in the center of a warm soup bowl. Sprinkle with the shredded celery leaves, and pour the soup around the garnish mixture.