Chestnut and Chickpea Soup, with mini baked potatoes and rosemary

Chestnut and Chickpea Soup

Psst! I wouldn’t bother. Reading between the lines.

I’m bored tonight. I’m like that. Fickle. As for the Chestnut and Chickpea Soup soup. It’s good. Just not good enough. I’ll wait and buy in fresh chestnuts. Until then. This is such a simple soup that it almost feels like cheating. Almost. I’m using half a can of puréed chestnuts, that I happened to notice was heavily reduced in price when at the superstore recently buying chickpea flour and organic cocoa. No, not to use together. Presumably the cans of chestnuts were reduced (their sell-by date is 2016) as fresh chestnuts are only ever in the stores here before Christmas. Which is when I’d bought the loose chestnuts that you see within the secondary photo. Yes, I’m like that. I keep stuff for food props only. Anyway, at last I’ve managed to get over the idea of wanting to make a chestnut soup. I write that purposely as I wouldn’t bother to use this canned product again. Well, not for a soup. As a possible sub for butter within a chocolate ganache, I’m hoping. As for the soup I would far prefer this made with roasted chestnuts. Hah, where to find them. Excepting a two week window at the end of the year. Having said that, this is so easy, and tasty, that I just might do the same again – if I can buy in more cans at the same price. As otherwise I’d be loath to shell out on these cans otherwise. So, why am I even bothering to post? Well, some of you are heading fast into Autumn. And I would definitely make this again with fresh I wouldn’t bother either. Finish it, I mean. No, not the soup! Hrrmph…Gimme a hoodie and I’ll wear it backwards – that’s the mood I’m in.

Chestnut and Chickpea (Garbanzo Beans) Soup, with mini baked potatoes and rosemary

INGREDIENTS:

PREP: about 10 mins ~ COOK: about 30 mins ~ READY IN: 45 mins

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: cast iron (Dutch oven) saucepan with lid + tinfoil

  • about 300g (10.58 oz) x baby potatoes (Maris Peer) per person, scrubbed with any knobbly bits cut out and discarded
  • 1 x sprig fresh rosemary
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • 2 x small carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 x celery stalk, washed, trimmed and cut into 3 pieces
  • 1/2 x small onion, trimmed, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • pinch x red pepper flakes, more to personal taste
  • 500ml x cold water
  • 1 x organic vegetable stock cube
  • 1/2 x 415g (14.64 oz) can chestnut purée
  • oil, for the chickpeas
  • 1/2 – 1 x 400g or 240g drained weight (14.11 or 8.466 oz drained) can cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and well rinsed, check for any discoloured peas or any that have holes in them and discard them
  • up to 2 x organic garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled and crushed
  • 1 x sprig fresh rosemary
  • single/light cream, to serve
  • butter, for the potatoes
  • seasoning, to serve

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put a cast iron saucepan lined with tinfoil and with a lid on electric heat No 4 out of 6. When potatoes are prepped add them to the pan, scatter over pieces of the rosemary, grind over some sea salt and clamp on the lid for 15 minutes.  Grab tongs or a couple of forks and carefully turn each potato over. Pan will be very hot. Reduce heat to No 3, put on the lid but keep it slightly ajar to allow steam to escape and continue to cook until the potatoes are soft to the touch when gently, and carefully, squeezed in their middles. According to the size of potatoes used this can take at least 30 minutes, longer for larger.
  • In the meantime put a large saucepan on heat No 4 with the cold water, bay leaf and stock cube. Add the carrots, celery and onion , clamp on a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. When cooked remove them with a fork and discard.
  • Put a large heavy-based pan on heat No 3. When hot add a glug of oil and the chickpeas. Allow the chickpeas to get a little golden in colour, reduce the heat if necessary and add the crushed garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the garlic is cooked through. Take off heat and set aside.
  • For the soup add the chestnut purée and whisk to combine. If necessary pour the soup through a fine wire metal sieve into a suitable container and then transfer the strained soup to the saucepan. Bring to near boiling point to make sure the chestnuts are well heated. Pour in a little cream, to personal taste, and heat through before serving.
  • Serve with the baked potatoes with a little butter added to them, the chickpeas and garlic and extra rosemary if needed.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


45 comments

  1. I see a post..it’s from feed the piglet…I know it will be something good…yet again, you don’t disappoint Johnny. Love “the voice” of your writing! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  2. You may be a little bored and not happy with canned chestnuts but your photo makes me look forward to next year’s chestnut season. 🙂

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    • Ah, if only I could wait that long. Along with Jerusalem artichokes freshly roasted chestnuts are one of my favourites. The canned chestnuts were okay. Just not nearly as good as the real mccoy. That producer do whole chestnuts in vacuum packs, but after trying their cans I’m loath to spend that sort of money for the others. Of course, it’s always best to eat what’s in season.

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  3. I love this soup, so simple and so fall/winter. The chickpeas, chestnuts and potatoes would make this a hearty and protein packed meal. I LOVE your photo’s. Fresh chestnuts are delicious, the park near my house has several large chestnut tree’s and every fall I collect the nuts and bring them home. Saved this recipe for next fall, seems a long way away but time flies.

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    • Lovely comment, thank you. Yes, I used to do the same with a large walnut tree in London. Not many sweet chestnut trees around – and too many squirrels! This soup would be so much better with freshly roasted chestnuts. And, dare I say it as I’m still not eating meat/fish, even better with home-made chicken stock. Something fairly simple without too many spices. The little potatoes, though, are a winner here. Especially baked on the hob/stove with fresh rosemary and sea salt. As I felt using rosemary within the soup was going to overpower the canned chestnuts. If the product is made from only chestnuts how come they’re so bland?! And this is an expensive food product over here! Really was quite shocked.
      Ah, time doth fly alright!

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  4. Beautiful photos, Johnny! This looks delicious. (And you cracked me up with your strike-throughs. This is definitely how I feel all too often when drafting blog posts.)

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    • And it’s exactly how I felt earlier! Normally I really enjoy coming up with narratives. But this one was going on, and on, and…well, you know. Anyway, thanks re photos!

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    • The soup is absolutely okay to sup. Even though the canned chestnuts were very disappointing in their flavour. However, it’s a natural product so I do prefer the idea of adding to this soup for extra flavour as I know what goes into it. 🙂

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    • Aren’t soups some of the most wretched food to shoot? They’re either too hot causing too much steam for overhead photos. Or start to look cold and slightly wrinkly. And if you move the bowl at all then it begins to look like a mess with a ring of foam where the soup shifted. Actually, it’s a while since I’ve gone with a soup on here. And it may be a while before I go with another one! 🙂

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        • That’s happened to me! Always so annoying. Especially adding anything like pan-fried croutons. Suddenly, there’s an oil slick in the centre of the plate that natural light just seems intent on highlighting! Usually it’s a case of, dump the soup back into saucepan, reheat, huff’n’puff for a while and start again!

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  5. Such beautiful photos of this soup Johnny… love everything about it! Never been too fond of chestnuts, though perhaps they’ve just never been prepared properly… tasted a little like dried-up mashed potato to me… When they come into season at the farmer’s market, I’ll have to buy some and get some good tips (like this soup) for how to best cook and enjoy them!

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    • Thank you. They were a chore to get. Actually, the overhead was okay. The lead-in was a nightmare to plate and shoot. Doesn’t help when the camera’s battery keeps cutting out. And there I was determined to have a little knob of melting butter gently sliding down the potato. Just about caught it!
      Hmm, I’m never had chestnuts that were too dry. They’re not something that’s commonly used over here. Yet, they’re one of my favourite autumnal ingredients. Roasting them for 15 minutes is all they really need before adding them to a soup. Here’s my old post on that: https://feedthepiglet.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/roasting-sweet-chestnuts/
      Unfortunately, apart from using them with pan-fried Brussels sprouts I don’t have any other recipes as yet.

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  6. The soup looks wonderful and I love all your props! I’m curious about the tinfoil in the pot with the potatoes. Imagining two things, help the cooking along and/or keeping them from sticking. Strikethroughs are genius, only you can pull those off Johnny, as well as the backwards hoodie!

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    • The tinfoil is there to protect my one and only littl’ le Creuset saucepan that was a pressie from a chef who specialised in Keralan cuisine. If only I’d been able to watch Claire as she cooked! Oh, grief. Her food was consistently divine! Undoubtedly the finest Indian food I’ve ever had.
      Hah! The air was thick and blue last night in my flat. Cursed like a drunk that was being forced into rehab – think A Streetcar Named Desire if it was ever remade! Can you imagine it?! No. And I won’t be pulling the trick of the stikethroughs again. Just how I felt last night. 🙂

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  7. Woah, Johnny, what’s happened to YOU?! Backwards hoodie?? Crossed out PARAGRAPHS of text???? I can’t believe you can be so down after creating such an amazing recipe, and taking such beautiful photos! Hopefully the hoodie’s the right way round now 😀

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    • No, the locals prefer it when I wear a hoodie back to front! As for the text! Just couldn’t get a speed or rhythm going on. And I was yaking on and on. As for the recipe, I would make this again as it was incredibly easy to do so using the canned chestnuts. They were disappointing. I’m sure you know of the brand I’m talking about as they seem to be the only ones producing chestnuts. I’m supposed to be using it in a ganache along with butter, which is one of the reasons for buying it. Hmm, should try that tonight.

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  8. Hilarious! This is a great post. Your photos are stunning and the ingredients here are so perfect for the weather outside. I know why you feel that way though, sometimes when I’m setting up props and I haven’t done the dish the way I would have liked it just feels wrong. But, this soup looks awesome and I’m going to try it one evening! Love your blog.

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    • Thanks! Ah, I’m kinda glad I went with instinct last night. It was either that or not bother to publish. But I will refrain from using that emergency tactic again. And if you do try the soup, and it is still cold enough in the evening to do so, I really hope you like it. I’m pretty certain it’s something you could find in Italy during Autumn. The canned product, regardless of its merits of being 100% chestnuts, really does need vamping up. Or added ingredients to help give the chestnuts that oomph they deserve. To an extent the rosemary worked really well with the mini baked potatoes, that ended up stealing the show!

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  9. You crack me up! From one fickle head to another, I’d say we’re doing pretty well. Didn’t think it’d last me this long. The soup, btw, looks mighty good with the potato peeking out. Must. Have. Potato. Now. Chickpeas sound good, too!

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    • The soup was good. And those littl’ potatoes were something else. So, so good with fresh rosemary and sea salt. It was just the canned chestnuts that were ever so slightly disappointing – like, loads! Darn it. At least I didn’t pay full price. 🙂

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      • Fresh chestnuts are not that much better. I bought tons thinking I could recreate those wonderful roasted chestnuts sold in the streets of HK and NYC, but no…what a huge disappointment. They were hard to peel and didn’t taste all that great. And a few exploded in my oven, making a huge mess. I cleaned it as much as I can, but I think I’ll find a way to “kill” it, so I can have the excuse to buy a new one. Lol… Relax, it’s 20 yrs old, it’s time anyway.

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        • That’s disappointing. Any chestnuts that I’ve roasted over here have been extraordinarily good. Naturally very sweet and with the most wonderful texture. Really just the same as I’ve bought in NYC, except for the distinct lack of smokiness. And that’s sort of what I’d hoped for from this product that I think is French. As it seems to be more of a French and Italian thing to eat lots of differing recipes that include chestnuts. I can’t think of any British recipes that include them.
          And I’ve never had them explode in the oven – only ever banana and caramel muffins!

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  10. I’m curious about the backward hoodie, can you see anything if you wear the hood?
    Your narrative also cracked me up. Might do the crossed out text, if I need something with shock value for Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Would you mind if I copy the backward hoodie as well? Great photos, btw, but everyone else has told you that!

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    • Copy all you want! Isn’t that one of the beauties of the Net? I don’t mean plagiarism, of course (which isn’t likely to happen on my blog as I couldn’t even spell plagiarism!).
      Thanks re photos. Don’t tell anyone, I don’t really like them.

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