Parsnip-apple soup with crispy chestnuts

Olivia Schneider

blog finished parsnip soup

When I went to Bern two years ago, Summer introduced me to a delicious snack—roasted chestnuts. They sell them from stands on the street, and you just eat them whole with nothing else. They have a delicious meaty texture and taste. Once I returned to Halifax, I looked for them, and found a few specialty grocers in Halifax that sell packaged roasted chestnuts. They’re not quite as good as the ones I had in Bern, so I usually add them to dishes , as opposed to eating them plain.

Like most of the soups I make, this recipe was created because I had ingredients in the blog parsnip soup chestnutshouse that needed to be used up. But I was inspired by a recipe in September’s Canadian Living to make the crispy chestnut garnish, and these added a really interesting texture to the dish. This soup ended up being so good! It was simple to make, and made my house smell like Thanksgiving while it was cooking.

Ingredients (makes two lunch-sized servings)

3 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped

Half an apple, peeled and roughly chopped

5 chestnuts, diced

1 slice of onion, diced

1 small garlic clove

1 cup vegetable broth

¼ teaspoon dried sage (obvious fresh would also work, but I didn’t have any on hand)

A few leaves of rosemary, half of it chopped


blog parsnip soup ingredientsDirections

Sauté the onions in an oiled pan until soft, then add the garlic and sage. Once the garlic is browned, add the parsnip, apple, three of the chestnuts and the rosemary that was chopped. Add enough broth to cover the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil and allow it to simmer until the parsnip is soft.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a separate pan. Add the whole rosemary leaves and cook until they begin to crisp. Then add the remaining chopped chestnuts into the same pan and cook those until they’re crispy.

Once the parsnip in the soup is soft, puree the soup.

Serve the soup topped with the crispy rosemary leaves and chestnuts.

Olivia lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she enjoys making fast-but-good meals on a budget, and exploring new restaurants and recipes.
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11 thoughts on “Parsnip-apple soup with crispy chestnuts

  1. Aren’t those Bern roasted chestnuts so good! They’re my favourite for the train ride portion of my wandering adventures. I love this recipe, Olivia and will borrow it for my clients. Prsnips, apples, chestnuts. It can’t get any more seasonal. I’m familiar with the packaged chestnuts that you incorporated into your dish. I agree with you…..fine as an ingredient. And nothing like the Bern experience! Eating something so close to where it was harvested and roasted in a traditional manner right before your eyes and nose! The cobblestone streets, the architecture, the alps, all of it and the taste of Bern, for me is the freshly roasted chestnut.

    • I’m glad you like the looks of it Aunt Susan! We’ll have to do a road trip…plane trip?…and share some freshly roasted chestnuts in Bern.

  2. I love pureed root vegetable soups, and parsnip-apple is one of my favourites. But I’ve never thought of adding chestnuts or any other nuts. I like this idea, since the only flaw with many vegetable-based soups is that it’s hard to make a whole meal out of them.

  3. I just noticed the chestnut stands out the other day…signalling the beginning of the winter season. I hadn’t thought to use them in/on a soup. Great idea!

  4. Oh…and dad used to (still does maybe) buy raw chestnuts from Loblaws around Christmas time and roast them himself on the woodstove. They were good too!

    • I remember seeing them in Loblaws — in a string bag, I think. Lee Valley once carried a chesnut-roasting pan, which was a sort of heavy-duty skillet with holes large enough for the chestnuts to nestle in.

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