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Chestnut Soup

Serves 6

8 tablespoons vegan butter
4 cups whole roasted chestnuts
1 carrot peeled and chopped
1 leek, mostly white parts, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 cup celery chopped
7 ½ cups vegetable broth
½ cup Madeira wine
2 or more parsley sprigs chopped
Pinch of nutmeg
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Cayenne pepper

Preparation: To roast chestnuts: Choose fresh, firm, unwrinkled chestnuts with no signs of spores. On the flat side of each chestnut, take a small knife and cut an “X” from one end to the other. Make sure you cut all the way through the shell. Lay the chestnuts in one layer in an oven-proof dish. Bake at 325 degrees F for about 25–30 minutes, until the cuts peel back naturally from the heat. Cool only slightly. Peel off the outer shell and the fuzzy skin, and set nuts aside.

In a heavy saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add chestnuts and sauté until heated through, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in heavy, large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, parsnip, leek and celery; sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Add vegetable broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low. Add the chestnuts, Madeira wine, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Purée the soup with an immersion (or other) blender. Transfer the puréed soup to a large soup pot and reheat, stirring frequently.

When it’s thoroughly heated, ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper.