Creamy Chestnut Soup

This festive and hearty soup will keep you warm all winter!

4 slices bacon, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 large shallot, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 small leek, roughly chopped

1 stalk celery, roughly chopped

4 1⁄2 cups chicken stock

2 1⁄2 lb. fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled, or two 15-oz. jars whole roasted chestnuts, drained

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme

1⁄2 cup heavy cream

1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat bacon in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is almost crisp, 3–4 minutes.

Add butter, shallot, carrot, leek, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5–7 minutes. Add stock, chestnuts, bay leaf, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook, slightly covered, until chestnuts are very tender, about 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Discard bay leaf and thyme. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir in cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper; cook until soup is slightly thick, about 5 minutes more.

Yield: 6 servings