Make Ahead

Leeky Sunchoke Bisque with Chestnuts

January  9, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I have felt chilled to the bone all day and tonight just wanted to feel warm and comforted from the inside out. As well, cleaning out my fridge has been on my to-do list. This soup fit the bill in every way and quite honestly was one of the best things I've eaten in a long while. Mmm!
I recognize that roasting the chestnuts requires a baking sheet which might ruin the one-pot'ness but the chestnuts are optional. —em-i-lis

What You'll Need
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted until tender
  • 8 fresh chestnuts, each scored with a paring knife around its perimeter, OPTIONAL
  • 4 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • cups leeks, trimmed/washed/halved lengthwise/chopped crosswise (2-3 leeks)
  • cups onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 medium onions)
  • ¼ cups shallot, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • teaspoons salt
  • at least 1/4 tsp each of freshly ground nutmeg and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 cups sunchokes, washed and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pecorino rinds
  • ½ cups buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • slivered scallions for garnish, optional
  • 1-2 strips bacon, lightly cooked, then chopped and added to soup when you add the sunchokes, puree them too! OPTIONAL
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. If you've not already...On a piece of foil, put the unpeeled garlic cloves, drizzle with a bit of oil, seal tightly and roast in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes. If you want to use the chestnuts, place them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, in a dutch oven or soup pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter is mostly melted and things are heating up, add the chopped leeks, onions, shallots and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with the salt, nutmeg and white pepper, stir to combine everything well, and lower the heat to medium.
  3. When the veggies are nicely wilted and starting to turn translucent (at least 10 mins), add the sunchokes and chicken broth (and the bacon if using). Turn the heat up to medium high, and submerge the two cheese rinds. After a few minutes, add the buttermilk and cream and stir again to combine everything well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat until you can maintain a nice simmer and cook 25-30 minutes, until the sunchokes are easily pierced with a knife. Add the roasted garlic cloves (peeled of course) at any point before the cook time is up.
  4. When the sunchokes can be pierced, turn off the heat and carefully remove what's left of the thyme sprigs and cheese rinds. Then, carefully puree the soup with an immersion blender (if you don't have one, let the soup cool some before using a blender). Serve with peeled and chopped roasted chestnuts and slivered scallions if you like.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • boulangere
  • em-i-lis

5 Reviews

LeBec F. January 8, 2014
p.s. i meant to mention the pecorino rinds usage as great too.
LeBec F. January 8, 2014
em, i am in complete agreement w/ boul's admiration for your "layering in flavors". I am always looking for the innovative touches in a recipe and your including buttermilk and shallots is great. But you know what makes me do the happy dance the most from your recipe? Why, the fact that you don't peel your sunchokes!! I can't believe how many pepople think they have to peel them, while their skins are so thin, you don't gain ANYthing by peeling them! And, like all vegetable peels, nutrition is concentrated there. So yay, Emi!! Lovely dish.
em-i-lis January 8, 2014
hi lbf, thank you so much for this lovely note!!! i just made this again two days ago and am swooning. and my attitude is: never peel if you don't really have to! so i'm with you there!! :) thanks, m!
boulangere September 17, 2013
I've cooked and peeled chestnuts exactly once in my life, and the experience convinced me that buying them roasted and peeled was cheap at twice the price. You may have convinced me otherwise. That said, I am in love with sunchokes (, and the way you have layered in flavors here along with them is so beautiful!
em-i-lis September 17, 2013
i do see what you're saying regarding dealing with chestnuts. they are surely a labor of love, and as such, using just 8 keeps you sane. :) thank you so much for your lovely compliments, boulangere. i, too, love sunchokes -your pickles sound so interesting!- and wait for their season each year!!