Chestnut And Parsnip Soup

Ah.... soup.

As soon as the cooler weather hits Melbourne this is probably the most common dish I turn to for almost all of my lunches.

It really is the perfect meal as you can pack as much goodness in there as you like. You can keep it chunky and rustic (when I'm really hungry this is the style I crave), or you can blend it all up together until it's silky smooth.

I love them all. So picking this week's theme was a bit of a breeze really as I have a number of soup recipes earmarked for making - it was just a matter of choosing the perfect one, so I chose -


Chestnut and Parsnip Soup with pear puree

Cookbook: Country Style: Country Kitchen Author: Michael Ryan



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Serves 6


600g fresh chestnuts | 50g butter | 1 brown onion | 3 cup pouring cream | juice of 1/2 lemon | 40g unsalted butter | 3 golden shallots, diced | 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and diced | 1 tsp sherry | 1 onion, chopped | 1 leek, sliced | 3 sticks celery, chopped | 3 parsnips, peeled and diced | 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock | salt and freshly ground pepper | extra virgin olive oil to serve |


  1. Score a cross on the base of each chestnut with a small sharp knife. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the chestnuts and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove, cool slightly, then peel shell and inner membrane.
  2. Melt butter in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, leek and celery. Cook for 8 minutes or until tender, then add chestnuts, parsnip and stock. Season to taste. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until chestnuts and parsnip are soft.
  3. Puree mixture in a food processor, then pour into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Add cream and return to the boil, stirring constantly. Add lemon juice.
  4. Melt unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 2-3 mins or until tender. Add pears and sherry and cook covered for 10-15 mins or until pear is soft. Puree pear mixture in a food processor and season with salt.
  5. Serve parsnip soup with pear puree and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Wow. What an amazing soup.

Subtle in flavour but so very, very filling (surprisingly so actually). You only need a small bowl to feel satisfied. The only extra I'd wish for to accompany this soup is a gorgeous roaring open wood fire to sit in front of with my blanket and book.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to this soup though. Peeling all those bloody chestnuts!

I never thought it would end, and my finger nails are ripped to shreds!

The process of shelling nuts (like podding peas) I usually find relaxing and enjoyable - but not chestnuts. Never ever again!



I definitely plan to make this soup again as it was absolutely delicious but it will be with the pre-peeled can/jar chestnuts. I'm sorry but that's just the way it goes. I'm quite sure the taste will be different but I think it's worth the try.

My finger nails think so too!

Check out my fellow challengers by clicking here