Even so, a hot bowl of soup is on my dinner table many a night this time of year and this little number has become one of my winter favorites. It's quick and easy enough to make if you're serving a special lunch, satisfying enough on its own or with some fresh bread for dinner, and absolutely perfect as an unconventional cocktail party hors d'oeuvre. I served it as one of the heavy appetizers at my daughters' birthday party in December. In teeny tiny mugs (I used espresso mugs) it looks adorable and somehow makes it seem more special than your everyday soup.
My grandmom had given me a bag of fresh chestnuts from her friend's tree so I had them to use, but you can often find them in stores already roasted and peeled. While I loved the sweet, nutty, buttery taste they added, if you have trouble finding them or they just aren't your thing, a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds would be a nice garnish as well.
Pumpkin and Winter Squash Soup with Roasted Chestnuts
Serves 6 as an entree
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large fennel bulb, chopped
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1" pieces
3 c. chicken stock
1 c. half and half
1 c. roasted chestnuts, sliced
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add pumpkin, butternut, carrot, celery, and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup (can also puree in batches in a blender or food processor). Whisk in half and half and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
Ladle into soup bowls and top with sliced chestnuts.
Adapted from Ina Garten's Winter Squash Soup.
Linking to The Winthrop Chronicles, Silver Pennies, The Shabby Nest, Craftberry Bush.