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Creamy French Chestnut Soup

Velvety smooth with a savory taste like hazelnuts and potatoes dusted with maple sugar, Potage aux Marrons is a simple French chestnut soup recipe that tastes more complicated than it is to make. This is a great soup to make soon when the chestnuts fall.


  • 1.5 lbs Italian chestnuts 1 lb for the soup, ½ lb for garnishing.

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 6 oz diced yellow sweet onion 1 medium onion

  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

  • ½ cup heavy cream or half and half

  • ¼ cup marsala wine or sherry optional

  • Kosher salt to taste

  • Freshly ground or grated nutmeg to taste

  • sliced cut chives or fresh parsley to garnish, optional

Spice Bouquet (Optional)

  • 2 cloves

  • 1 dried bay leaf

  • 2 small fresh thyme sprigs


Steam and peel the chestnuts

  • Keeping each nut flat-side down, score each chestnut with an X. Alternately, they can be cut in half. Put the chestnuts in a 12 inch skillet with 1 cup of water, cover, bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.

  • Remove the chestnuts a handful at a time and peel them, keeping the unpeeled nuts together in the pan to stay warm.

  • Set aside 10 ounces of nuts to puree into the soup. Reserve about 5 ounces of chestnuts (1-2 nuts per serving) cut into bite-sized pieces and reserve to garnish the finished soup.

Build the soup

  • Melt the butter in a 3 quart stock pot and add the onions. Cook on medium heat until cooked and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the marsala or sherry and cook until the pan is nearly dry.

  • Add the chicken stock, herb bouquet, and chestnuts. Cover the pot, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for twenty minutes. Discard the herb bouquet.

  • Working in batches if needed, puree the soup in a blender until very smooth.

  • Add the cream at the end, season the soup to taste with a few gratings of nutmeg, a splash of maple syrup to taste, and kosher salt. Stir, double check the seasoning again and adjust until it tastes good to you.


  • Serve the soup in small bowls like the luxury it is. A 6-8 ounce portion is plenty. Garnish with dollops of creme fraiche, chopped cooked chestnuts and a sprinkle of chives.

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