Chef Teddy Diggs
Roasted chestnuts provide the primary punch of flavor to this rich, creamy soup, but mushrooms, carrots and celery root play strong supporting roles. Aromatics including garlic, shallots and thyme further enhance the flavor. Chef Teddy Diggs introduced the seasonal recipe at Coronato Pizza, a restaurant serving Roman-style pizza in Carrboro, N.C.
2 oz. thinly sliced pancetta
2 shallots, sliced (1/2 cup)
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ cup peeled and sliced carrots
½ cup peeled and diced celery root
½ lb. white mushrooms, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
2 cups roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ cup brandy or cognac
5 cups chicken stock or water
4 oz. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In saucepot or large saucepan, render pancetta slowly over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add shallots and garlic; sweat until translucent. Remove everything from pot and set aside.
2. In same pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add carrots, celery root, mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme; saute until vegetables begin to brown.
3. Stir in chestnuts and shallot mixture (with rendered fat); continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Deglaze pot with brandy; add chicken stock to cover. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until chestnuts are falling apart and tender.
4. In blender, puree hot soup in batches with cold butter until very smooth. Season with salt during the blending process. Finish soup by stirring in cream. Serve hot.