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Young & Hungry asked some area chefs about some of their favorite holiday recipes. Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central shared his mother’s chestnut soup recipe.

Michel Richard’s Chestnut Soup (serves four)


8 oz. chestnuts (fresh or frozen out of shell)
2 oz. applewood smoked bacon
6 oz. white onion, diced small
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz. Unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Make a sachet of the following ingredients: 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 head garlic (split) and 1 bay leaf


1. Roast the chestnuts in a 325º F oven for 15 to 20 minutes until they are slightly brown and soft. When these are ready, in a saucepot, render the bacon until brown. Remove the bacon, keeping the fat in the pot. Add the diced onion and caramelize them. Add the chestnuts and bacon and sauté for few minutes. Remove fat. Cover with the chicken stock, add the sachet, and cook slowly until the chestnuts are soft about 20 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
2. Remove the sachet.
3. Add the heavy cream.
4. Bring contents of the pot to a boil.
5. Remove contents to a blender and purée.
6. Add butter and seasoning.
7. Strain and serve.

Note: You can reserve some of the chestnuts after roasting, chop them and keep for garnish with some fresh herbs such as chives or parsley.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery