ZUPPA DI LENTICCHIE e CASTAGNE – DELICIOUS CREAMY LENTILS and CHESTNUTS SOUP
I am very fond of chestnuts. Maybe because they remind me of my childhood in Sicily. I remember walking in the streets during the cold season and stopping at the street vendors stand to ask for a ‘coppino di carta di caldarroste,’ a paper cone of roasted chestnuts. I would feel a sense of great pleasure holding the warm container of chestnuts while the smell of smoke from the vendors fire was still very strong in the air. It’s a pity that you cannot find fresh chestnuts all year around. When they are not in season I buy them already roasted in a jar in my local supermarket. As often happens between mother and son I think I passed this craving to my three year old son who has been asking for chestnuts every time we go to the Nutbox store.
I think that this recipe will surprise even those who usually are not ‘soup lovers’! It’s my very special recipe for a delicious creamy lentils soup:
- 1 ½ cup dry lentils (there are many varieties of lentils. I like to use the small brown lentils from Castelluccio- Italy)
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 clove or garlic minced
- 1 potato cut in cubes
- ½ cup of sweet cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes chopped
- ¼ cup of roasted chestnuts
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
Put the lentils in a large pot and cover with water. Add the onions, garlic, potato, tomatoes, chestnuts, bay leaf, salt and pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for about 20 minutes and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary. Let it sit and cool down for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. To obtain a creamy velvety consistency use an electric immersion blender .
You can serve it warm or at room temperature. I like to add 2 or 3 tablespoons of cooked brown rice to make this dish richer and have a crunchiness while you’re eating.
Advice: Even if there is no need to soak lentils, I like to soak my lentils for 8 hours and then rinse them under running water. It makes them easier for your body to digest.
Tip: Try to freeze it if there is any leftover. It’s a very handy meal to have in your freezer when you don’t feel like cooking or want to have a comfort soup. I usually take it out from the freezer first thing in the morning and by lunch time it’s ready to eat!