Monday, January 20, 2014

Chestnut Pumpkin Soup and Rainbow Salad - IHCC Potluck

I had some roasted (vacuum packed) chestnuts leftover from Christmas and decided I wanted to make a soup with them. Eat Your Books - I love that site - led me to this Jamie Oliver recipe (I had no idea I had so many at my fingertips in the cookbooks I own!). Part of its appeal was that it seemed more interesting than the others, calling for additional ingredients that I happened to have on hand: dried porcini mushrooms, fresh pumpkin, bacon, onions, barley, dried chilli and rosemary.
Chestnut Pumpkin Soup
The method was quite simple, beginning with pre-soaking the mushrooms and cooking the bacon and onions. All of the ingredients were then combined and cooked in the pot for a few minutes before they were simmered in the mushroom soaking liquid and stock. How chunky you leave your soup is personal preference; I wanted it smooth and creamy so took my stick blender to the pot. The flavour was a wonderfully complex mix of earthy and nutty with a touch of sweetness, and the texture, velvety.
Hot Sage Bread
Jamie recommends serving the soup with Hot Sage Bread, a country loaf rubbed with bruised sage leaves, salt and a little olive oil and warmed in the oven. It was a nice alternative to garlic bread and fit right in with the earthy flavours of the soup.

Between the mushrooms and the chestnuts, I knew the soup would be some shade of brown so I had to compensate with something colourful; this rainbow salad with its assortment of seasonal vegetables was the right fit. It was a delicious slaw that included red and green cabbage, beets and carrots but what made it special was the addition of pears, walnuts and fresh mint. Jamie suggests leaving ingredients out so people can create their own dressing. To simplify things, I dressed the salad with those same ingredients - cider vinegar, grainy mustard and grapeseed oil (I left out the mayo).
Shredded Rainbow Salad
It had lovely crunch and zingy flavour, and it served its purpose well, detracting attention from the colour of the soup! Bonus, my family actually ate and enjoyed beets which were hidden in a layer under the other veggies!!! 

The recipes for Chestnut Pumpkin Soup, Hot Sage Bread and Shredded Rainbow Salad are from the book Jamie Oliver's Great Britain; together they made a delicious soup & salad meal.

I'm sharing this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs for potluck week, where we can cook with previously featured chefs. Visit here to see what everyone else brought to the potluck party.


  1. Very unusual combination....mushrooms, pumpkin and chestnuts. Love you salad. I have a pear lying around and now I know exactly what I am going to use it for.

  2. Wow, a fabulous meal! Love all three ! The soup looks especially good, and I know I will enjoy the salad. The sage bread sounds perfect with the soup, I would enjoy it too, if toasted with some butter.
    Delicious potluck, Zosia!

  3. I love the sound of that salad!

  4. Wow, a complete meal ... so good for you and so colorful! That Jamie O does it up so well!

  5. What a unique soup and I love the idea of the sage bread--I am a big sage fan. The salad truly is a rainbow--great colors and textures. It looks like it was a fabulous meal. ;-)

  6. I have some chestnuts in the freezer waiting for a good recipe. And since I have some pumpkin......

  7. What a delightful meal. I'm personally not that fond of chestnuts, but I'm sure blitzed up in a flavourful soup I wouldn't mind them. Love the idea of the sage bread, and your salad looks wonderful.


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