Spiced chestnut soup with hazelnut cream and white truffle
This is one of our finest soups and a marriage of two royal autumn ingredients: chestnuts and pheasant. Folded into these flavours are star anise, fennel, juniper berries and cardamom, giving deep, complex notes. The pheasant stock gives a slightly gamier flavour. The hazelnut cream and white truffle crown the flavours.
YOU WILL NEED
For the soup:
1 celery stick, sliced
½ leek, sliced
2 shallots, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 small sprig each fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and tarragon
50g smoked bacon rind
1 star anise
15 fennel seeds
6 juniper berries
6 cardamom pods
2.5 litres pheasant stock (see last page)
600g chestnuts, cooked and peeled or vacuum packed
25ml Cabernet Sauvignon wine vinegar
60ml hazelnut oil
4 cooked peeled chestnuts, vacuum packed
½ white truffle, optional
handful dried mushroom slices
2 tsp mushroom powder
For the soup:
Sweat the celery, leek, shallots, garlic and herbs with the butter and bacon rind in a large pan until softened. Crush the spices together in a pestle and mortar and add to the sweated vegetables. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then add the chestnuts and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Blitz in a food processor until smooth and pass through a chinois.
Finish with the wine vinegar and season.
For the hazelnut cream:
Salt and lightly whip the cream with the hazelnut oil. Heat the soup, being careful not to let it boil, and pour into heated serving bowls.
Spoon on a little of the hazelnut cream and then use a mandolin to shave over the chestnuts and the white truffle, if using. Finish with a sprinkling each of the dried mushrooms and mushroom powder.