Chestnut Soup – Kastana

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

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I just can’t turn down a chestnut in any shape or form during the holidays! It reminds me of being on the streets in Athens as they roast them fresh on outdoor grills during the Fall. They are now always on my menu for the holidays. This chestnut soup can be made ahead of time and reheated for as an appetizer or a first course. The recipe calls for  for a jar of chestnuts, but I buy fresh chestnuts and bake them myself. They can be found in almost all grocery stores today. For the holidays I serve this dish as an appetizer in small cups, just as a warm starter. For a larger crowd you can easily double this recipe.  Make this soup the day before, and it  reheats beautifully on a low simmer.

In Antiquity, the chestnut tree was regarded in Greece, as the tree of Zeus. Annual chestnut festivals in Greece occur during the fall season in late October in the city of Kastanitsa, Arcadia.  Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe while on their way to various campaigns.

Here is a post on How to Roast Chestnuts for you to follow.

Chestnut Soup - Kastana
This is such a unique soup, and I became inspired to make a soup after traveling in Greece. I serve this for Thanksgiving and it's a nice appetizer before the meal. Can be made ahead and reheated, which makes it a perfect party starter.
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6-8
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 California bay leaf
  • 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
  • 3 cups fresh chestnuts or 1 (14 oz). jar peeled cooked whole chestnuts,crumbled
  • ¼ cup Madeira
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  1. If using fresh chestnuts: Cut an x in the middle of the flat side of every chestnut. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour until soft.
  2. Peel chestnuts while warm and crumble.
  3. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stir in celery,carrot,and onion. Cook on low for 15 minutes until vegetables have softened.
  4. Wrap parsley, cloves, and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with string.
  5. Add broth and parsley bundle to the vegetables. Bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce and simmer,covered, for 20 minutes. Add chestnuts and Madiera and simmer, covered , for 3 minutes.
  7. Puree soup in small batches in a blender until smooth. Stir in cream, pepper, and salt to taste.
  8. When reheating place on a low simmer.

While driving down to Kalamata, , Greece in late October we came across a farm stand and found these beautiful chestnuts and Fall fruits and vegetables.

Inspired by a recipe found in Gourmet-November 2003

© 2010 – 2018, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Foivi Geller

Geia sou!!! xarika pou se brika!!

2 Mary Papoulias-Platis

I just loved finding chestnuts at the farmers markets in Greece. We use them in many recipes here in the states.

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