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Roasted chestnut soup

Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 12
Roasted chestnut soup
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
1

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the celery, onion and fennel; cover and cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 15 minutes.

2

Wrap the thyme sprigs, bay leaf and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth, tie with a piece of kitchen string and add to the vegetables with the chicken broth, chestnuts and brandy. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the chestnuts are very tender, about 45 minutes. Discard the cheesecloth bundle.

3

Puree the soup, in batches, using an immersion or regular blender. Return it to the cleaned pot, add the cream and pepper and reheat. Taste for seasoning.

4

Fold the thyme leaves into the whipped cream or creme fraiche. Garnish each cup with a dollop.

To roast the chestnuts, use a sharp knife to cut an “x” on the flat side of each nut. Roast for 10 minutes in the oven at 500 degrees. Remove from the oven and cover with a towel that has been soaked in ice water and then wrung out. Let stand for 10 minutes, then peel. You can also use two 7.4-ounce jars of roasted whole chestnuts (available at Whole Foods).

Amy Scattergood is a staff writer for the Food section of the Los Angeles Times.
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