Chestnuts Simmering in an Open Pot…..

Wrong words, I know, but when you smell this soup as it being prepared, you just plain feel like singing that little dittie. The smell is outrageous and further cooking it under a flaky puff pastry is the way to go. When you crunch your spoon past the crust and into the thick soup below, you will be saving this recipe for another cold night, or day.

Rustic Chestnut Soup En Croute

1 T. olive oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. (1/2-inch)small diced, peeled sweet potato
2 t. minced garlic in oil
1 1/2 c. fresh green beans, cut in 1-inch segments
1 1/2 c. chopped. cooked shelled chestnuts(about 1 1/2 lbs. in shell)*
2(16-oz.) cans chicken broth
1(15-oz.) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cumin powder
1/4 t. black pepper
1(14.6 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, drained
1 sheet(11 x 6-inches) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
Green onions or chives

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion: saute 4 minutes. Add sweet potato and garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add green beans, chestnuts, broth and cannellini beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half vegetable mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in salt and remaining ingredients. Cook 5 minutes or until heated.
Pour soups in individual crocks or oven-safe baking dishes. Cut puff pastry in circles large enough to cover each bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and mix with 1/2 t. roughly chopped, fresh green onions(chives). Brush the pastry with this mixture and place on baking sheet to catch any bubbling soup that may spill over the side. Bake 12-15 minutes or until top is browned well.

Makes about 9 cups.

To cook your own chestnuts, you can use a microwave:
Make a slit in the bottom side of each nut or cut in half. It is important to at least make a slit or the chestnuts could explode! Place 8 to 10 chestnuts on a paper plate and use a roast setting for 2 minutes. Each microwave is different and you will have to experiment with your time and heat settings. When the nuts are roasted enough, the skins will begin to pull back slightly and the outer shell will separate easily from the nut.