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chestnut-pear soup {ffwd}

chestnut-pear soup

November is not a good month for Howard and French Fridays with Dorie recipes. He liked the chicken, but after week 1, it’s been all downhill, and the slide will continue for the rest of the month. Fruit, fruit mixed with savory, French toast, all just not his thing… Oh, well, as they say, “More for me!” This week’s recipe is in the fruit mixed with savory category: Chestnut-Pear Soup.

My signature Thanksgiving stuffing is a chestnut stuffing, so I’m a big fan of chestnuts. I used to roast and peel them, filling the kitchen with aromas that evoke memories of a city street corner on a winter’s day. Peeling chestnuts is hard work, though, so I was so happy when, about a decade ago, I discovered jars of already steamed and peeled chestnuts at Williams-Sonoma. Not an inexpensive option, but with all the tasks to make a Thanksgiving meal, pre-peeled chestnuts always seemed like a good value. Since that initial discovery, I’ve seen (and purchased) chestnuts in even more stores, around this time of year, and stock up to introduce chestnuts into pre- and post-Thanksgiving meals.

Add this simple soup to the list of tasty ways to consume chestnuts. A bowl of Chestnut-Pear Soup looks unpromising, yet a spoonful reveals a surprising complexity of flavor. You get the earthy nuttiness of the chestnuts along with a touch of sweetness from ripe pears and the added depth of oniony-ness from leeks (in addition to regular onions). I used only 1 quart of broth because I prefer a thicker soup than Dorie does.

Chestnut-Pear Soup made a perfect autumn lunch. It would also make an elegant starter to a special (or even an everyday) meal. I topped the soup with a splash of cream and a quartered chestnut and enjoyed my lunch. I’m hoping it freezes well. I was the only one eating it this week, so put a few containers in the freezer for later.

If you’d like to find out how my French Friday friends enjoyed their soup, check out their links here. For the recipe, you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.