Chestnut, bean and potato soup
Prep Time: 1/2 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Keywords: boil soup/stew beans potatoes chestnuts Italian fall
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 3.5 oz / 1/2 cup / 100 g Paul's mix beans or borlotti or canario [see below how to cook beans with aromatics]
- 8 oz. / 1/2 lb. / 225 g fresh chestnuts
- 1 bay leaf
- Olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Half a leek, white and light green portion, cut into half moons and carefully rinsed (save the darker green portion to make broth or stock)
- 4 sage leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 9 oz. / 250 g potatoes, well scrubbed and cubed (I used a mix of Purple Majesty and Yukon Gold from my garden)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup / 240 ml homemade chicken stock/broth or vegetable option (in which case, this soup is vegetarian)
- Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
InstructionsHow to cook dry beans
The way I cook beans for further use comes from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison (Beans with Aromatics). After soaking half a cup of dry beans for several hours or overnight in enough water to cover them by about an inch (I use two cups), empty the whole bowl into a saucepan and add: half of a small onion (or a quarter of a medium one), halved; a bay leaf; a small clove of garlic, sliced; a couple of sprigs of fresh parsley
Bring the water to a lively boil quickly, and keep it there for five minutes, then turn down the heat and let the beans simmer, covered, until they are ready. How long this takes depends on the type of beans and their freshness. Let them cool in their broth, then remove the aromatics and discard them. Let the beans rest in their cooking broth until ready to use.How to cook the chestnuts
With a pointed blade, make a slit in the shell without cutting through the meat. Place chestnuts in a saucepan, cover abundantly with water and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and cook gently until they are tender. Keep the chestnuts in the cooking water and take out one at a time to peel. Use a sharp knife with a pointed blade to remove the shell, then the skin. Set aside. (If a chestnut breaks, while being handled, it is fine.)How to cook the soup
Warm up some olive oil in a saucepan, then add shallot and leek. Stir well to coat. After a couple of minutes, add sage and rosemary and stir. After a few more minutes, add the potatoes, beans with their cooking liquid, tomato paste and broth, plus enough water to cover.
Bring the soup to a boil, covered, then turn down the heat and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender (you can easily mash one with a spoon on the side of the pan).
Remove from the heat and purée using an immersion blender, if possible. If you use a food processor or blender, purée in small batches and use extreme care. You may opt for a minimal blending so not all the ingredients are completely puréed. This makes for an interesting texture. Add more water, as needed, to make the soup reach the desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve.