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Chestnut Soup with Crème Fraiche & Porcini Scented Duck Fat Croutons

D'Artagnan | Yield: serves 6
Sweet chestnuts are slowly simmered in an aromatic Port-enriched stock until tender, then puréed to make a luxurious velouté. Duck fat croutons dusted with porcini powder add a little earthy crunch.
Chestnut Velouté Soup with Porcini Croutons | D'Artagnan

Ingredients

FOR THE CROUTONS

  • 4 slices country bread, cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons Duck Fat, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Porcini Powder
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE SOUP

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, white and light green part only, finely chopped
  • 2 packs Ready to Use Chestnuts 
  • 1 cup ruby port
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraiche

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with the melted duck fat until evenly coated on all sides. Sprinkle with porcini powder, season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly. Spread the croutons in an even, single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown and crisp, turning once, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium sauce-pan. Add the carrot, celery, and leek and cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chestnuts and cook for 4 minutes more. Add the port, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook over medium high heat until the port is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf.
  3. Add ½ cup of cream to the soup. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, or blend until smooth using a hand held stick blender directly in the pot. Over medium high heat, bring soup back up to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In a small bowl, stir crème fraiche. Add a little heavy cream to thin, stir until smooth.
  5. Serve soup in individual bowls with a drizzle of crème fraiche and a few duck fat croutons.