Chestnut Soup

by Maggie Battista on January 8, 2014

in Appetizers, Featured, Soups


Oh my winter weather amazingness. One moment, it’s snowing pounds of fresh white stuff. The next moment, it’s frozen. And then suddenly, it’s warm as spring and we’re melting in thick sweaters. But, really, there are far worse things. We cooked our way through the snow storm and kept warm during the frozen tundra, gift wrapping our way through the holidays and into 2014. Happy new year to you!

I have so much to tell you. First and most importantly, thank you for such a wonderfully busy holiday season. We packed so many food gifts, took on new corporate clients and hosted both the Holiday Market and a holiday pop up shop. It’s always pure joy to talk to you in person. I also wanted to say thank you to the guests in my first ever food gift workshop last month. I had fun making and wrapping hot cocoa with you!

Next, I want to help warm you up, whenever you may be. I crafted this winter dinner menu for a New Zealand wedding magazine last year, and I am fairly certain that it would suit your weekend plans. The cocktail is so easy – just add one part cassis and two parts red wine to a wine glass. It’s a French recipe that I’ve taken on as my signature cold weather cocktail and it’s a warmer in the truest sense.

Let’s dig into the menu… 


I created this for a rustic wedding but it would work fine for a fancy dinner party at home or maybe a romantic meal in February? (hint, hint) The actual recipe for Chestnut Soup is just a little further down in the post.

Cardinal Cocktail:

Red wine and cassis

Cheese and Red Fruits:

Cheese plate with Windham Hill wood rind cheese, sweet pickled cranberries, English cheddar, freshly cracked walnuts and a selection of red fruits like red pears and red grapes

Chestnut Soup:

Served with crème fraiche and crispy prosciutto slices

Roasted Hens with Balsamic Glaze:

Spatch-cocked and rubbed with rosemary, orange rind and balsamic glaze

Caramelized Onions with White Beans:

Whole cipollini onions roasted with garlic, thyme and olive oil, tossed with white beans

Winter Pavlova:

Topped with bright red jam, whipped cream, blackberries and raspberries, and lined with green leaves or rosemary


Thank you to the fabulous design, styling and photography team who made these photos so very pretty! xox

Chestnut Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped kohlrabi
  • 7 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped leek
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 5-6 whole cloves
  • 1 California bay leaf
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups freshly roasted chestnuts, peeled and chopped (or 1 14-ounce jar of prepared chestnuts)
  • 1/4 cup Madeira
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea salt, to taste


  1. Melt butter and oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat, then stir in kohlrabi, garlic, and leek. Sweat vegetables 15 minutes (to soften).
  2. Wrap thyme, cloves, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with string to make a bouquet garni.
  3. Add broth and bouquet garni to saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.
  4. Add chestnuts and Madeira and simmer, covered, for three minutes.
  5. Purée soup in small batches (4 or 5) in a blender until smooth, transferring to a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in cream, pepper, and salt to taste and reheat soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.

Special Note: Garnish with crumbled piece of oven-crisped prosciutto or a dollop of crème fraiche.


Photos by Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio. Food Styling by Christine Tobin.

Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagramTumblr and Pinterest.


Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October 2015. You may pre-order now.


  • Deborah

    Hi Maggie I was in that workshop and and I had fun too! I also made and gave away lots of raspberry vinegar to rave reviews.
    Thanks for a great holiday market. I am talking it up here in Philadelphia!

    • Maggie

      Oh Deborah, it was such a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for spending all of your day with us. I hope to drop by Philly sometime soon! xox

  • Jenny B

    This soup (and the entire menu!) looks so good. Your soup would be great for a Valentine’s Dinner. :)

    • Maggie

      Hi Jenny! You’re so right. I have totally overlooked the fact that it would be a perfect soup for a romantic dinner menu. I can see it now: you roast the chestnuts together and then make the soup together. Tres chic! Happy new year, Jenny! xox

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