Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sweet Potato and Chestnut Soup - Zuppa di Castagne e Patata Dolce

Winter still walks among us. You can see him whichever way you look. You'll spot him hiding in a dark corner, all stiff and icy, like a fairytale beggar. You'll see his long, white beard hanging down to the floor, brushing the concrete walls and freezing the tiny particles of water that were crying off it. Winter is in the air: he flies with the witches, and while they pour but laughter and scorn on the land, he drops hail and snow. Boreas, that old bagpipe, still likes to accompany him and lets him ride on his back like a great beast of cold and air. Celestial Dragon admires Winter. He's always regarded him as a beautiful buffoon. Unpleasant, certainly, but strikingly beautiful in its own way. Celestial Dragon has always loved the glistening and sparkling of thin ice on the roads, the diamond-like ice crystals that coagulate in the clouds, the infinite multitudes of shapes the snow flakes assume - all perfect in their unique symmetries, and the vital steam that comes out of your mouth when you breath, reminding you every instant that is your breath you're seeing, your vital force, your life. Winter has always had a penchant for pensiveness and meditation. In fact, if you asked him, he'd tell you that his favourite holiday destination is Tibet.
But Divine Cherry would have none of this. Divine Cherry needs warmth and sun. She needs for her cherry cheeks to flush in the morning heat. That is why she has always tolerated, but deep down disliked Winter. Lately, however, her adamant position has softened a bit (to Celestial Dragon's delight). And so it was that one day, instead of arming herself with fire and pitchfork, Divine Cherry armed herself with soup and spoon. It was her most successful crusade yet: Celestial Dragon melted away as though he were a popsicle basking in sunlight. Divine Cherry was as happy as can be. The only problem now was the mopping up.

Sweet potato and chestnut soup

-2 sweet potatoes
-300g of chestnuts
-half an onion
-half a glass of milk
-olive oil (extra virgin, what else?)
-salt & pepper

Carve a cross in the chestnuts with a small knife and boil them for 20-30mins in unsalted water. As they have to be soft, check thoroughly before taking them out (in case they're not ready yet, add more boiling water and let it boil a while longer). When they're ready, peel them one by one, making sure to remove the "inner skin" as well. Cut the onion and sauté it in a pan with the olive oil. Add the peeled sweet potatoes cut in cubes. Add the chestnuts and let it all absorb the flavour for a couple of minutes. Cover everything with boiling water (or, preferably, stock) without pouring in too much. Bring to boil. When they're done, blend everything until it becomes creamy. Add the salt and dilute with the warm milk (add as mush as you like). Sprinkle with pepper and serve warm.

Zuppa di castagne e patata dolce

- 2 patate dolci arancioni (credo siano diverse dalle patate americane che si trovano da noi, in alternativa potete usare un pezzo di zucca)
- 300 g di castagne
- mezza cipolla
- mezzo bicchiere di latte
- olio evo, sale e pepe

Incidere la buccia delle castagne con un coltellino ben affilato e farle bollire per 20-30 min in acqua. Le castagne devono risultare morbide, quindi per verificare la cottura affondare il coltello nella polpa attraverso il taglietto sulla buccia. Scolarle poche alla volta e sbucciarle, rimuovendo anche la pellicina interna.
Tritare la cipolla e farla apassire nella pentola con un filo d'olio. Aggiungere le patate dolci sbucciate e tagliate a tocchetti, aggiungere le castagne e far insaporire it tutto per qualche minuto. Coprire le verdure con acqua bollente (o brodo), in modo che le verdure siano appena sommerse. Portare a cottura. Con il frullatore ad immersione rendere il tutto a crema, salare e diluire con mezzo bicchiere di latte caldo (o anche di piu' a seconda dei gusti). Servire con una buona spolverata di pepe.

And Spread the Mess


  1. this soup sounds delicious...definitely must try this :) thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you Jenn! This soup is a winner in our home especially on chilly nights...