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Author Notes: I love the flavors of this soup. I was always first in line to buy roasted chestnuts from street vendors in big cities. Perhaps more than any other smell, roasted chestnuts make me think of fall. —David
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup sweet onion, coarsely diced
- 4 cups fennel, coarsely diced
- 4 cups apples, diced (mcintosh, gala, fuji etc.)
- 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanouf (or your favorite spice blend...cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, etc.)
- 1 1/2 pounds roasted chestnuts (it's probably easier to buy pre-packaged but if you have a source for fresh don't hesitate to roast your own), coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 + 3T cups cream
- 3 tablespoons Grand marnier or other orange liquer
- 3 tablespoons marsala
- pinch orange zest
- In large skillet melt butter with oil. Add onion and fennel and soften over med. heat (about 5 minutes) Turn heat to medium high, sprinkle onion and fennel with salt, pepper, and sugar and caramelize while stirring. (Don't allow to burn) Add apple and Ras El Hanouf and stir. Take skillet off heat, add marsala and deglaze the pan while pouring into stock pot.
- Add chestnuts, chicken stock and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes. Add 3 T cream and adjust seasoning. For Grand Marnier cream whip 1 cup cream with GM, pinch of sugar and orange zest just to stiff peaks and refrigerate until topping soup.
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