I am newly obsessed with chestnuts. When I was staying with Amanda and Joschi in Germany, there were piles of them around, because Joschi is an excellent forager. I felt emboldened to order chestnut soup at a work dinner, and it was by far the best soup I've ever had.
Then, while hiking in Pinnacles last weekend, we came upon a bunch of chestnuts on the trail. I collected as many as I could before Mike said I was embarrassing him, and on Monday night I attempted to roast them for a soup. And they totally sucked. They were bitter and mealy and gross. You know what the lesson is there? Don't try to scavenge for food. Be a real modern disconnected-from-the-earth human and buy your chestnuts in a plastic carton like all the other good Trader Joe's shoppers.
I redeemed myself on Tuesday by making a really freaking good Mark Bittman chestnut soup. Just celery, onions, chestnuts and vegetable stock - that's it! So healthy! And tasty. It was a little chunky because my food processor is tiny and starts hiccuping after 15 seconds, but still. It was delicious.
And the chestnut love just keeps on coming. Today I found this article today on my beloved nuts. I don't doubt that the cream in that recipe would make the soup taste richer, but since I am a fatphobic cook, the Bittman recipe made more sense for me.
Also, someone in the comments section called them "Hateful little yuletide horror-nubbins!" Which is too amusing to be insulting.