Soup Recipes: Warm up with these soups, stews, chowders, and chilis

Winter has arrived in earnest; it's the long, bitter, double-up-on-socks cold of January and February. These are the months for soup, and Stir It Up! has the perfect collection of soup, stew, chowder, and chili recipes.

Chestnut soup

Blue Kitchen
A delicious, aromatic chestnut soup. It's creamy and rich, perfect for a starter for a winter dinner party.

By Terry BoydBlue Kitchen
Serves 4 to 6 as a first course

1/2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into thin coins
1/2 cup parsnip, peeled and chopped
1-1/2 cups potato, cut into small cubes or slices
about 12 ounces vacuum packed roasted chestnuts (plus extra, for garnish)
4 cups chicken stock
Salt, pepper
1/3 cup cream or half and half

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and olive oil together over medium flame. Add the shallots, carrot and parsnip and sauté about two minutes or until the shallots are translucent.

2. Add the potatoes and chestnuts, stir everything together and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer about half an hour – until the potatoes and carrots are very tender.

3. Let cool a bit. Then puree it in the blender until very smooth. At this point, you can store it in the fridge for a day, or you can serve, heating it gently, adjusting seasonings with salt and pepper, and stirring in the cream. If you like, garnish with a few finely chopped chestnuts.

This was so good that I am planning to try some variations found online – not least Nick Kindelspringer’s lentil and chestnut soup and perhaps one of the soups using chestnuts and dried porcinis.

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