Long before I discovered Vejer and the exceptional chorizo iberico of Paco Melero, my butcher here in Vejer, chorizo & chestnut soup was always one of my favourites. It had a lot going for it because not only was it easily made, it was always incredibly popular. I would serve it as part of my winter menus or as soup sips at cocktail parties. It could also be made well in advance as it freezes brilliantly.
When I moved to Vejer, this yummy soup more or less vanished from my repertoire, unless I brought back in my suitcase from UK, packets of Merchant Gourmet peeled and vac packed chestnuts.
We have this great no fuss supermarket chain throughout Spain called Mercadona. They usually have one type of each product so no brand wars and normally it’s their own brand called Hacendado. I leave town to buy Hacendado crème fraiche and Hacendado Spanish marconna almonds. You would never find Chinese pine nuts here. Only the one type of Spanish piñones, long elegant and lemony. Mercadonna sells quality stuff. Where they can, they sell fish from the local lonjas (fish markets) and if not, each variety of fish will be clearly labelled as to its provenance. They are fast to react to consumer trends and in the last 12 months they have even been offering ready made hummus, coconut oil, nori sheets and now, ready peeled & vac packed Hacendado Chestnuts!
So Chorizo & Chestnut soup is very much back in my repertoire! I even make it without exact ingredients. The sofrito is Italian/French mirepoix, not a typical Spanish sofrito of onions, tomatoes & red pepper. I use water instead of stock so that it is not too rich. I don’t tend to add the garlic or chilli so entirely optional. A blob of yoghurt or a squeeze of lemon juice to add some acidity when serving is good. Sprinkling of parsley for visuals and served alongside a yummy glass of Fino or Oloroso. Buen provecho!
Chorizo and Chestnut Soup
Serves 6 & freezes brilliantly
1 medium onion, peeled
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 stick celery
120g spicy (picante) cooking chorizo, skinned and diced, Chorizo Iberico if possible.
2 garlic cloves (optional)
Few thyme sprigs
1 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of saffron
1 small dried red chilli (optional)
Large splash of dry sherry
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
250g roasted, cooked and peeled chestnuts
Approx 750ml chicken/vegetable stock or water
Approx 60ml natural yoghurt, to serve (optional)
Sauté the chorizo in a dry hot pan for approximately two minutes. Spoon out the chorizo leaving the oil in the pan.
Soak saffron threads in warm water.
Dice the onion, celery & carrot. Sauté in the chorizo oil for 2 – 3 minutes and allow to soften. Roughly chop the chilli (or use dried chilli flakes) and add to the pan, crush in the garlic, pick in the thyme leaves and add the cumin and saffron. Cook for a further 2 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Pour in a splash of sherry to deglaze the pan. Roughly dice the tomatoes and chestnuts and add to the pan with the chicken/vegetable stock. I use Marigold powdered veg stock or even just water. Add most of the chorizo. Reserve some for garnish. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a liquidiser or use blender stick. Season to taste. I often find it needs nothing more added. If you prefer the soup a little thinner, loosen the consistency with more water.
Pour into soup bowls and garnish with a spoonful of natural yoghurt. Sprinkle some reserved cooked chorizo on top.