November 26, 2010

Chestnut Porcini Bisque

Let me preface this by saying that I know this bisque doesn't look appetizing. It's thick and beige and reminds me of things I would never eat. But, if I've taught you nothing else on this blog, then remember that good food doesn't have to be complicated and it doesn't have to look pretty.

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.

Serves 4

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  1. I bet this soup is delicious! Most of my delicious soups are beige. Yesterday I was having a fit because the gravy I made for potatoes was oatmeal color, it really was gross looking and I couldn't fix it.

  2. @valen

    Oh no! I'm sure it tasted fabulous, though. :)

  3. Oh awesome! It looks like it has the most velvety texture...beige or otherwise, sign me up for a bowl!

  4. @Faith @ lovelyascharged

    You're welcome to a bowl! It's definitely velvety. :)

  5. Yum! I have dried porcini mushrroms sitting in the fridge. I should make this!

  6. I've never had porcini mushrooms, but this soup sounds great!!

  7. Hello, I've been following your blog for awhile. I liked the transition to basil and wine and I think you are an amazing cook!