It can be hard to find time to enjoy the pleasures of the holidays during this busy season. Chestnuts roasting on a open fire after a long day at work and holiday shopping? Unlikely! But with this easy weeknight soup, you can at least enjoy the smell of chestnuts simmering in an open pot.

To make this seasonal soup, purchase pre-roasted chestnuts and simmer them in a pot with sautéed aromatic vegetables and broth. A little bit of cream gives it an extra rich flavor and texture.

Chestnuts are different from other nuts in that they are lower in protein and fat and higher in complex carbohydrates, lending them a starchy texture to go along with their nutty flavor. A surprising source of vitamin C with about 50% your daily needs in a 3 ounce serving – chestnuts are perfect for warding off those icky winter colds. They also contain a hefty dose of folate and magnesium.

To make this a complete meal, serve with a big leafy salad and a piece of crusty bread for sopping up the last bits of soup. If you’d like to dress this recipe up to serve on a holiday, try garnishing it with crispy bacon, a dollop of crème fraiche and/or truffle oil.

Chestnut Soup
Serves 4, as a main

– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 1 celery stalk, chopped
– 1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
– 1 large carrot, trimmed and chopped
– 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
– 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
– 1 dried bay leaf
– 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
– 13 ounces pre-roasted and peeled chestnuts
– 1/3 cup red wine
– 1/4 cup half and half, or heavy cream
– Grated fresh nutmeg, for serving
– Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
– Chopped fresh parsley or chives, for serving

1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large soup pot. Add celery, onion, and carrot and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, bay leaf and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Uncover and add chestnuts and red wine. Simmer 5 more minutes. Carefully remove bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, puree until creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in half and half or cream.
3. Divide soup between bowls. Garnish with grated fresh nutmeg, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh parsley or chives.

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About the Author

Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE, CLT

Rachael Hartley is a private practice dietitian and food and wellness blogger at The Joy of Eating. She believes loving every bite of food is central to living a happy and healthy life. Through her practice and blog, Rachael inspires clients and readers to rediscover the joy of eating with nourishment, not deprivation, and to nurture a healthy relationship with food. Follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.