Naive that I am, I hadn’t realised until this afternoon that publishers often send off nice little marketing presents, or at least gorgeous packaging, with their review copies. Now since it’s a bit difficult to add even a teensy tin of hot chocolate when I notify someone by email about my blogged fiction, I’ve hit upon a different marketing ploy – a recipe. I owe an awful lot of people some bling, so I’m going to post a real beauty here to compensate for all those unadorned messages.
Here it is, a taste of heaven. It won’t make you immortal, but perhaps it’ll encourage you to read Mortal Ghost. And in my next ‘edition’ of the novel, I’ll somehow contrive to mention this soup, it’s that good. Jesse and Finn, after all, are very fond of their food.
1.5 l stock, preferably beef
3 medium onions
3 stalks of celery, including tops
3 whole cloves
4 tablespoons Cognac
1/4 l dry white wine
1/4 l creme fraiche
1 small onion
750g cooked and peeled chestnuts (also available tinned or vacuum-packed)
Peel and dice carrots. Wash and slice celery, including the tops. Peel and finely chop the 3 medium onions. In a large stockpot melt the butter and add the vegetable dice. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add stock and wine.
Stud the small onion with the whole cloves. Reserve 8 chestnuts and chop. Add the remaining chestnuts and the clove-studded onion to the soup pot. Simmer for about 25 minutes, then fish out the whole onion and discard. Puree the soup in a blender, food processor, or handmill. If it seems too thick, add a bit of additional broth or white wine.
Add salt, pepper, and perhaps a very small amount of sugar to taste. Just before serving, stir the creme fraiche into the hot soup, then at the very end the Cognac so that its aroma doesn’t dissipate.
Divide the chopped chestnuts amongst your soup bowls and ladle the soup over them. Or, if you prefer, you can add them along with the Cognac to a tureen.