Porcini & Chestnut soup




(Serves 4)

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil + extra to garnish if you wish
  • 1 small brown onion – chopped 
  • 1 clove of garlic – crushed 
  • 1 stalk of celery – chopped 
  • 200g of fresh porcini if available, substitute either chestnut mushrooms, or portobello if not – roughly chopped 
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary – leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 400g of cooked chestnuts (shelled weight). The pre-cooked vacuum-packed sort work well if you don’t want to spend hours cooking and peeling fresh chestnuts
  • ½ cup (loosely packed) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 litre of water
  • Some nutmeg to grate

Up to 4 hours before you are ready to cook, bring one litre of water to a near boil, and add the dried porcini. Cover with a lid and allow to steep until you are ready to start making the soup. The longer you can leave the stock to develop, the better!

Heat the olive oil, and gently fry the onions, celery, and garlic together until softened, around 10 minutes. Next, add the chopped mushrooms, and most of the chestnuts (reserving around a quarter to use later as a garnish), along with half of the rosemary. Fry these together, allowing the mushrooms to colour, for around 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, sieve the poricini stock to remove any grit or fine particles, and add to the pan to cover the chestnuts and mushrooms. Add salt and pepper to season.

Simmer gently over a low heat, for 30 minutes or until the chestnuts have softened sufficiently and can be easily broken apart. 

Allow the soup to cool a little before carefully blending in batches. Let the blender run for around a minute on a high setting to achieve a completely smooth consistency.

Prepare a garnish for the soup by breaking the remaining chestnuts up a little, and frying in oil briefly until golden and crisp. 

In a small bowl mix the remaining rosemary with some olive oil to create a rosemary drizzle.

Ladle the warm soup into bowls, top with the golden chestnuts, and finish with a bright drizzle of rosemary oil.