Creamy Chestnut and Bacon Soup

Chestnuts are synonymous with Christmas, whether roasted or stuffed into a holiday bird. This soup is creamy, rich and a tiny bit sweet; it can be made a day ahead and gently reheated.  

Your guests will get a real treat having this soup!



  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped bacon
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped, about 1 to ½ cups
  • ½ cup peeled and finely chopped celeriac (celery root)
  • 2 ½ cups finely chopped mixed mushrooms; any combination of shiitake, cremini, oyster, button – any touch stems removed
  • 2 to 2 ½ cups shelled roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock, divided
  • ¼ cup Cognac or Brandy
  • 1 bay leaf, fresh if you can find it
  • 1 sprig fresh sage or ¼ tsp dried
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ tsp dried
  • 1 cup 10% cream (half and half)
  • ¼ tsp white pepper, or more or less to taste



  1. In a large, heavy bottom soup pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp of the butter; add the bacon and cook until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes
  2. Add the shallots, carrot and celeriac; cook until tender, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables and bacon to a bowl, leaving the tasty fat and butter in the pot.
  3. Add the rest of the butter, mushrooms and chestnuts to the pot.  Continue to cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have softened somewhat, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add about ¼ cup of the chicken stock, and put the vegetables and bacon back into the pot; stir to blend.
  5. Add the Cognac and cook until the alcohol has burned off, a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the herbs and the rest of the chicken stock; and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often.
  7. After 30 minutes, remove herbs; discard. The thyme leaves will have come off the stems; that’s good.  Remove the woody stems.
  8. With an immersion blender (wand) or in a blender (in a few batches), puree soup until smooth; return to pot, stir in the cream, and add the pepper. Put on the lid to keep warm on the lowest possible setting or in a warm oven.
  9. Serve, and enjoy!



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