CHESTNUT ESCAROLE SOUP
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup diced shallots
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cups escarole, coarsely chopped
1 pound chestnuts
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
croutons and 4 chestnuts for garnish
Melt the butter in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat, when it foams, add the shallots, celery and escarole, reduce heat to low, cover, and let the vegetables cook slowly without browning, for about 5 minutes.
Add the chestnuts (reserve 4 for garnish) and cook until the shallots and celery are translucent and the escarole shiny and thoroughly wilted.
Add the cream, chicken broth and sherry. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, until the flavors have blended. Puree in a blender or food processor, return to a clean pot and gently simmer until the soup has reduced to about 7 cups. Add salt and pepper, taste and adjust.
While the soup is simmering, slice the chestnuts lengthwise into very thin pieces and place in 6 warmed soup bowls. When the soup is ready ladle into bowls, top with croutons and bring to the table. Serves 6