Chestnut, bacon + parsnip soup
“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” There’s no other ingredient half as evocative of Christmas than the humble chestnut. You can buy fresh chestnuts and cook them yourself, or buy ready cooked. To roast, pierce each nut and roast the nuts on a tray at 200˚C for 15 mins.
To boil, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 mins. Scoop a few out and peel off the shell. They become harder to peel as they cool, so keep them in hot water until you’re ready.
4 chopped rashers smoked streaky bacon
6 parsnips, peeled and chopped
200g cooked, chopped chestnuts
Drizzle of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 chicken stock cube
Fresh thyme (4 sprigs)
Fry the bacon in the oil until crisp. Remove half the bacon and set aside until later. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring until tender, then add the parsnips. Cook for another 5 mins, then crumble in the chicken stock cube.
Add the milk, 600ml water, the thyme and chestnuts. Cover and simmer for 30 mins until the parsnip is tender.
Blitz with a hand blender, then season to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with the reserved bacon.