Serves: 12
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

With three contrasting yet complementary flavours and textures, this velouté is both elegant and luxurious. Quick and easy to prepare, it makes an ideal starter for a Christmas dinner. Happy Holidays!


Ingredients

  • 1¼ lb. (600g) small fresh or frozen porcini mushrooms (or button mushrooms)
  • 2 celery hearts
  • 20 toasted hazelnuts
  • 4 cups (1 liter) chicken broth (or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 4 cups/1 liter water)
  • 3 lb. (1.3kg) canned or frozen unsweetened chestnut puree (or vacuum-packed cooked whole chestnuts)
  • 3 tbsp (1¾ oz./50g) lightly salted butter
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

1If you are using fresh mushrooms, cut the base off the stems and quickly rinse the mushrooms under cold water, brushing gently to remove any dirt. Pat dry, slice, and place on paper towel. If your mushrooms are frozen, follow the thawing instructions on the package, then slice.

2Wash the celery hearts, pat dry, and cut the stalks into thin slices. Place in an attractive bowl ready to take to the table. Chop the leaves and reserve as a garnish.

3Roughly chop the hazelnuts. When scattered over the soup, they must retain their crunch.

4In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, and then working in batches, blend the chestnut puree or whole chestnuts with the hot broth, the butter, and seasoning until velvety smooth. If the soup is too thick for you, gradually add more broth or hot water to obtain the texture you prefer.

5In a large 10-in. (26-cm) skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat until it is shimmering but not smoking. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, turning them over constantly with two spatulas. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

6If necessary, reheat the velouté over very low heat, stirring with a whisk. Serve in bowls garnished with the mushrooms, celery leaves, and chopped hazelnuts. Pass around the celery slices.

Extracted from Enjoy: Recipes for Memorable Gatherings by Perla Servan-Schreiber (Flammarion, 2020).

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