I’m alive and I’m back. I have had a really busy few weeks and just haven’t had time to post anything. But, I signed up to do the Dark Days challenge again this year, which should keep me on a more regular posting schedule.
The Dark Days Challenge is hosted by (not so) Urban Hennery, and is a winter-long challenge where participants commit to cooking one meal each week comprised of local, organic, and ethically sound food. I did it last year and had a lot of fun discovering new ingredients, as well as local resources, like my Marin Sun Farms meat CSA and the super delicious Stonehouse blood orange infused olive oil. All the meals I made last year can be found here.
And this begins my second year. As my inaugural entry, I made a pumpkin chestnut soup. Technically, a kabocha squash chestnut soup, I guess since that’s the gourd I had in the house. And oh em gee, it might be the best soup I have ever made in my life. It was nutty in the way that a peanut based soup is, but earthier than that. And kabocha squash (aka my new favorite winter vegetable) is also a pretty nutty tasting vegetable, so it worked really well with the chestnuts.
I will say that the chestnuts were a pain in the neck to shell. Usually, once I find out I like a soup recipe, I make a triple or quadruple batch of it and freeze it by the quart. But, the idea of shelling three or four times as many chestnuts makes me want to cry. So, I won’t tell anyone if you buy the jars of shelled or pureed chestnuts.
I found the recipe on Sunshine’s Kitchen, discovered by browsing Food Gawker, and it is an adaption of a Martha Stewart recipe. The produce all comes from my local farmers’ market, the chicken stock was homemade from a Marin Sun Farms chicken, and the cream comes from Clover Stornetta.
Pumpkin and Chestnut Cream Soup
Recipe by Martha Stewart, as adapted by Sunshine’s Kitchen
2 Tablespoons of butter
1 small onion, minced
1 large carrot, diced
3 small potatoes, diced
About 1.5-2 pounds of pumpkin, cubed (or kabocha squash)
About 1/2 pound of chestnut purée, or the same amount of cooked and peeled chestnuts
4 cups water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth
a good splash cup of cream
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
Heat butter in a large pot and add onions. Saute until golden brown. add carrots, potatoes, and squash and saute for a few minutes. Add thechestnuts, and water or broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, carefully transfer to a blender to puree. Add back to pot. Gently whisk in cream or milk, and add a bit more water if the soup is too thick. Add salt and pepper to season and serve.
I served mine up with a cold glass of Lagunitas Copper Ale – perfect match.