Chestnut Soup

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Chestnut Soup just feels undeniably classic for the holidays, almost Dickensian. It's rich, complex, and delightfully warming. Oh, and surprisingly easy to make.

  • Author: Renee Rendall
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: British


Units Scale
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 leek
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
  • 1-1/4 cups red lentils
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 8 ounces ready-to-eat chestnust
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 slices smoked streaky bacon or 1/2 cup smoked bacon lardons
  • about 1/4 cup creme fraiche


  1. Roughly chop your onion, leek, carrot, and celery and add them to your food processor. Process until your veggies are chopped to small pieces.
  2. Heat your garlic oil over medium-low heat in a large pot, then add the veggie bits. Cook your veggies, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until softened. 
  3. Add the lentils and stir them together with the vegetables.
  4. Add your vegetable stock to the pot, give it a stir, and turn up the heat to bring it to a boil. Then turn the heat back down to a simmer, and let it gently bubble away for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are softened. 
  5. While that's bubbling away, this would be a good time to cook your bacon in a skillet until crisp. If you're using bacon slices, you can chop them before or after they go into the pan, but you'll want to end up with small bits of bacon for topping your soup. Once the bacon is cooked to desired crispness, drain it on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside until you're ready to serve.
  6. Once everything is tender, add your chestnuts to the pot. Then use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. Alternatively, you could ladle the soup into a regular blender and blend it that way. Just be sure to leave the lid cracked on your blender to let steam escape, otherwise, you could end up with chestnut soup all over your kitchen walls.
  7. Once everything is smooth (and back in the pot if you've used a standard blender) stir in the sherry. If you think the soup is a bit thick, you can stir in a little bit of water to thin it out. Check for seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Ladle your soup into bowls, and top each one with a swirl of creme fraiche and a generous scattering of crispy bacon pieces.


If you want to make this ahead, stop and refrigerate it after you've blended the soup. Then add the sherry as you're reheating. You will likely need to add water to make it a bit thinner if you're reheating the soup.

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