Velvety Chesnut Soup with Grape Honey

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

For the soup

1 cup whole chestnuts, roasted and peeled
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon pumpkin oil
1 small shallot, chopped fine
½ of a sweet yellow onion, chopped fine
¼ cup celery, chopped fine
1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped fine
Salt
1 bouquet garni of fresh herbs in a cheesecloth sack: parsley, thyme, rosemary (a few springs of each)
2 fresh bay leaves
½ cup sweet Madeira
4 cups of sweet onion broth (see recipe)
½ cup heavy cream
Black pepper

For the grape honey

1 cup frozen concord grapes or fresh black grapes, chopped
¼ cup water
½ cup honey
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ tablespoons black pepper, freshly cracked

DIRECTIONS

For the sweet onion broth

In a large soup pan, add a bunch of red onions skins, shallot skins, carrot pieces, parsnip pieces, and 4½ cups of water. Add 2 tablespoons salt, ½ cup honey, and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain, and set aside.

For the soup

In a large heavy bottom soup pan, over medium high heat, add butter and pumpkin oil. Cook shallots and onions, until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the celery and parsnips, and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add bouquet garni, bay leaves, and Madeira. Add the 4 cups of sweet onion broth, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and bay leaves and blend with hand held immersion blender until smooth.

For the grape honey

Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer about 4 to 5 minutes. Take off heat. Cool. Place in blender, and blend until smooth. Strain using a fine mesh strainer.

To serve soup, place in bowl, and swirl in grape honey.

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