This is one of my favourite soups from the Centre Region of Italy! The chestnut give a unique almost sweet taste to the stew. Very easy to make and healthy
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped
¼ cup carrots in small cubes
1 stick of celery in small cubes
1 cup small brown
lentils, such as castelluccio or colfiorito
1 tablespoon tomato
20 chestnuts (fresh
Freshly ground black
slices baguette, toasted
Finely chopped fresh
basil and/or marjoram for garnish (optional)
In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion,
garlic, carrots, celery and pinch salt; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring
occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add lentils and tomato paste;
stir to combine, then add 4 cups water and bay leaf. Bring just to a boil, then
reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop 12 chestnuts. In a large skillet, heat
remaining 2 tablespoons oil and thyme over medium heat until oil is shimmering.
Add chopped and whole chestnuts; cook, stirring occasionally, until chestnuts
are lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
When lentils have cooked 25 minutes, add chopped
chestnuts and pan contents into pot with lentils. Continue cooking until
lentils are tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season soup with 1/4 teaspoon salt
and generous pinch pepper, then ladle soup into serving bowls. Tuck whole chestnuts
and toasts into soup. Garnish with fresh herbs, if using.