Chestnut and Apple Soup
November 04, 2008
Use the excellent vac-packed peeled chestnuts that are widely available. Or take some fresh chestnuts in the shell, nick them from centre to pointed top, at right angles to base.
Boil them in water for 10 minutes, then peel.
To do this, put your left hand into an oven glove to hold the chestnut, then use a small knife to peel off the shell and then to remove the inner brown skin.
- 50g chestnuts
- 2 litres chicken stock
- 1 stick celery
- 2 large Cox’s apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 60g butter
- 125ml single cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Malden salt
- Chunky wholemeal bread croutons fried in butter
Braise the chestnuts with the stock and celery for 20 minutes. Meanwhile simmer the apple slices in butter with a good sprinkling of pepper.
Liquidise the chestnuts, celery and apple with the stock and the buttery apple juices. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve with croutons.
Within a week or so of being picked, the flesh softens, the skin wrinkles and the taste becomes tired.
Catch them while you can – from Mr Poostchi – you won't find such a short shelf life in the supermarket.
His orchard is situated on the road out of Henley-on-Thames towards Rotherfield, Greys and Peppard. It’s best to call Mr Poostchi first though – 01491 574959.
The distinction between cookers and eaters can be misleading, from the cook’s point of view, the more useful distinction is between apples the keep their shape when cooked and those that dissolve into purée.
The best known of the latter is Bramley – favourite for pies and crumbles. I think it lacks something – try a mixture of Bramley, Jonagold and Golden Smoothie.
The same apples are great for apple sauce to accompany roast pork, grilled mackerel, roast goose etc. in my Tart Tatin recipe
I have used Granny Smiths, where wholes chunks of peeled apple need to keep their shape under assault from hot oozing caramel.
Even the best storing apples, once exposed to warm air in the greengrocers, will gradually begin to deteriorate. If the skin moves to wrinkle when pushed sideways its on its way.
Paul Clerehugh is chef and proprietor of London Street Brasserie, Reading and The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row