Don’t wait till Christmas to use chestnuts, as they make a truly special soup that is perfect for the when the weather begins to cool, being both rich and smooth. Rose harissa is a less traditional ingredient for a soup like this, but the spices and warmth create a pleasing contrast. A bonus is that as both the chickpeas and chestnuts are already cooked, this soup can be ready in 30 minutes.
75ml Crete Gold Extra virgin Olive Oil
1 or 2 small onions, peeled and finely diced,
2 garlic cloves peeled and finely sliced.
salt and pepper
360g cooked chestnuts, keep some back for garnish
1 660g jar Cooked Chickpeas
600ml hot water with 1 stock cube, either veg or chicken
200 ml crème fraiche
4-6 tsp Rose Harissa
Place a large pan on a medium to high heat and when hot, add the olive oil, onions, garlic and season well with salt. Stir and cook for 10-15 minutes until sweet and golden, turning the heat down to medium after a few minutes and then even further if the edges begin to darken.
Add ¾ of the chickpeas, including any liquid and ¾ of the chestnuts, then add the water and stock. Bring up to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then blend the soup in a food processor or stick blender till smooth. If using a liquidizer, wait for the soup to cool a little before blending and always start on a low speed with space left for the hot air to escape.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and if the soup looks a little thick, add more water. It should be smooth and silky.
When ready to serve, heat the soup and add the remaining chickpeas. Roughly chop the remaining chestnuts but keep one or two back to grate on top of the soup. Divide the soup between bowls, place a large spoon full of creme fraiche in the centre, then add a 1tsp of rose harissa next to it, then drizzle some of the oil over the top. Lastly, finely grate the chestnuts over the top.