This hearty and delicious Chestnut Onion Soup is a twist on a traditional French onion soup which sweetness is accentuated with natural sweetness of chestnuts. It is also toped with crispy bacon and rosemary. Irresistible delicious!
Hello everyone. How are things going? How has January been treating you? Feeling enthusiastic and energized or not accomplishing a lot due to the cold and dark situation outside? I started 2020 off on a positive note and full of energy. However, this week I’ve been struggling a little bit as I am being tired and sleepy all the time. I guess the answer might be rapidly and often changing weather. I am not complaining though. I’ve just checked that many people in the office feel the same this week, so it makes sense. That’s January, after all. On a positive note: the days are visually getting longer!
Anyway, if it’s cold outside in your area, may I suggest this Chestnut Onion Soup? Rodica Godlewski shared this wonderful idea on her Instagram feed and blog last year. You may recall that last November and December I posted 3 chestnut soup ideas for the holiday season. When I saw her idea, I immediately wanted to give it a try. However, it was the middle of December, and I had finished developing the seasonal recipes. Decision? I made this soup a week before Christmas, but I simply styled it as the recipe for post-holiday time. Smart, right?
I adjusted the recipe to my liking (Mostly, used more onions), but please feel free to use the original Rodica’s idea. What’s spectacular about this Chestnut Onion Soup? A quick answer: everything! Need a more detailed answer? Let’s see.
- A lot of onions, leeks, and garlic sautéed in the combination of butter and bacon fat with a touch of balsamic, for an extra sweetness;
- Naturally sweet chestnuts;
- Crispy bacon and rosemary for a topping;
- Smoked paprika and thyme for more savoury notes;
- Some extra butter and cream, for an indulgent version;
- Optional: grilled cheese or toasts with melted cheese on top.
Clearly, not the healthiest recipe some may enjoy after the holidays. On the other hand, what could be better on a cold dark day/night than a bowl of this Chestnut Onion Soup served with some toasted bread? Certainly, you can make it way healthier by omitting the cream and bacon parts, but why would you do that? January is a challenging month on its own, so please don’t be too harsh on yourself!
Cheers and see you soon.
- about 200 gr. bacon, sliced
- 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 2 large leeks (only light green parts, hard and woody dark parts discarded) (about 3 cups sliced)
- 4-5 large brown onions, sliced (About 4 cups total)
- 3-4 garlic cloves (more or less, to taste), roughly minced
- 3-4 tbsp. good balsamic
- About 500 gr. cooked chestnuts (I used ready-to-eat vacuum-packed)
- A pinch of salt and black pepper each
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
- 1 cup light cream (optional, can be omitted)
- Heat 1 tsp. of olive oil in a pan and cook the bacon, 3 minutes, until starting to golden. Add the rosemary and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring, until nice and crisp. Off heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon and rosemary on paper towel. Set aside. Don’t discard the bacon fat in the pan.
- Prepare the leeks by removing the hard-dark green parts (We’re using only white and pale-green parts) and thoroughly washing them. I usually sliced leeks, place in colander, and wash under running water. If it looks too dirty, I sometimes soak it for a couple of minutes then transfer to a colander. It helps to remove any sand from the inside. Drain the leeks.
- In the same pan with the bacon fat, add 2 tbsp. of butter, leeks, and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5-6 minutes over high medium heat, until starting to brown.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and let it evaporate one minute.
- Reduce the heat, cover, and sauté, occasionally stirring, for about 15-20 minutes, until very soft.
- Add the chestnuts and cook 2 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme. Add about 6 cups of hot water and 1 cup of cream (or 7 cups of water). Certainly, you can use chicken or vegetable stock. Off heat.
- Cool it for a little and puree, using a regular or immersion blender. Try and season more, if necessary. Add more water, if it’s too thick.
- Serve hot with some of the bacon-rosemary topping and toasted bread.