That being said, this soup is amazing. I know I say that every time I make soup, but this is definitely on a different level. As soon as I took my first spoonful, I closed my eyes and savored the flavors in my mouth as long as I could. My mom noticed me in food bliss, rubbed my arm and said "enjoying yourself, honey?" Yes mom, I totally was.
I took extra long to finish my bowl because this bisque is so intensely flavored that I wanted to be able to fully enjoy each drop. This was perfect between sips of merlot and bites of goat brie stuffed pears and also perfect when I just ripped off a hunk of baguette and dunked to my hearts delight.
In short, make this soup. Prepping the chestnuts is kind of a pain, but strangely cathartic. Also, I know porcini mushrooms aren't the most inexpensive or easily attained mushrooms, but don't sub them; they give the dish a wonderful earthiness that truly cannot be duplicated. If you can't find them, then feel free to come over for a bowl. I have plenty of leftovers.
Chestnut porcini bisque
- 1lb chestnuts
- 2/3 cup porcini mushrooms, soaked in warm water for at least 10 minutes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup porcini soaking liquid
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1/2 cup cream (I used non-dairy)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- S&P, to taste
- Prep the chestnuts (this can be done the night before) by slicing an "X" on the surface of each. Bring a pot of water to a boil and boil chestnuts for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then carefully peel away the shell. It's best to do this while the chestnuts are still warm or else the shells will become hard.
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot and saute aromatics until translucent. Add remaining ingredients, aside from cream, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then puree the soup in batches. Strain through a sieve and return to the soup pot. Bring the soup back to a simmer and whisk in cream. Keep on warm until serving. Garnish each bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and porcini mushrooms, if desired.