Holiday Countdown: Chestnut-Squash Soup

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Here’s the first of six cooking videos we’re doing this holiday season to make cooking and entertaining easy — but fun! I have asked chefs to share their favorite dishes – but also asked them to simplify the recipes so you and I can make them in our own kitchens.

And just to be sure – the chefs did just that: they came to my tiny kitchen in Nyack and we cooked together.

Here. chef Jon Pratt of Peter Pratt’s Inn in Yorktown and Umami Cafe in Croton shows me how he makes his chestnut-squash soup. The recipe, after the jump.

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Chestnut-Squash Soup

In the video, chef Jon Pratt and food editor Liz Johnson garnished this dish with some duck confit, which you can order from Hudson Valley Foie Gras (hudsonvalleyfoiegras.com) or D’Artagnan (dartagnan.com). The duck is not necessary; this soup tastes just as good ungarnished, or with a dollop of whipped cream.

2 medium Kabocha squash

1 large sweet onion, rough chopped

4 ounces unsalted butter

3 big sprigs of fresh thyme, tied in a bundle with string

1 quart chicken stock, plus extra for adjustments

1 cup cooked chestnuts from a jar, rough chopped

Maple syrup to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut squash in half. Roast squash with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour until you can pierce the skin with a fork. Let cool and remove from skin. You should have 1 packed quart of squash.

In a large pot over medium heat, heat butter until melted, add onion and tied thyme. Stir and simmer until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize, about 6 minutes.

Add stock, chestnuts and squash, bring back to simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, remove thyme and puree soup with stick blender until smooth. (If it’s too thick add more stock or water until desired consistency.)

Add pinch black pepper. Start with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon maple then salt and maple syrup to taste.

Garnish with shreds of duck confit and a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 6 to 8.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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