So, Christmas is done but you have half a bag of sprouts from an overly optimistic pre-Christmas shop looking a bit sorry for themselves in the bottom of the fridge. No? Is that just me? What about roasted chestnuts? I have those hanging around too, I don’t know about you. So, with a winter chill (finally) in the air, I decided to give a recipe for chestnut and brussel sprout soup, from one of my (many) trusty cookbooks, a try. With the usual vegan twists, of course.
I pull this cookbook out every month or so. It’s largely seasonal so if I notice something on offer and in season and am not quite sure what to do with it, I refer to this book. Most soups are covered and, although many involve meat or fish, there is 365 recipes to begin with. Even if a recipe with the desired ingredient is listed, sometimes it’s easy to leave it out.
In the original recipe from New Covent Garden there are the ‘usual suspects’: butter, milk and cream. So to make this a vegan friendly dish, they’d have to be substituted or removed. It also called for one kilogram of brussel sprouts. Who has that many sprouts left? Not me! I also don’t have the patience to trim and peel that pure number of vegetables. I mean, seriously. So I just used what I had and tried to balance out the other ingredients. For the dairy ingredients, here’s what I did:
- I got rid of the butter and used olive oil spray instead
- I got rid of the cream, and didn’t add a substitute
- Substituted non-dairy milk (unsweetened rice milk, in this case) for regular milk
A simple soup in nature
That said, there’s really not an awful lot more to this soup. The instructions are pretty simple and straightforward to follow – although in the original recipe you are somehow asked to include the chestnuts twice. I went with when they were first mentioned, rather than the second time in this adaptation for vegan chestnut and brussel sprout soup.
Chestnut and brussel sprout soup: move past the colour!
There’s only one bug bear with this soup: the colour. Unfortunately green brussel sprouts + brown chestnuts = exactly what you think.
However I can assure you the taste and texture of this murky chestnut and brussel sprout soup are much nicer. The additional of just one stock cube means that this isn’t too salty, unlike many supermarket soups. You’re free to add more salt, and pepper too, when you season too. I added about 4 twists of my salt grinder and 10 of pepper, knowing that we aren’t big salty fans in our house – in fact, just a few days ago my fiancé couldn’t finish a bowl of tomato & basil soup from a nearby Morrisons because it was just far too salted!
Chestnut & Brussel Sprout Soup (Vegan)
Luci Rebecca, Made by Luci
Adapted from "Brussels Sprout and Chestnut Soup" in Soup for Every Day: 365 of Our Favourite Recipes (New Covent Garden Soup Company)
- Prep: 10 minutes
- Cook: 25 minutes
- Total: 35 minutes
- Serves 4
- Calories 138
- olive oil spray
- 100g onion, finely diced
- 350g brussel sprouts, quartered (divided)
- 160g potato, peeled & diced
- 90g chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 800ml vegetable stock (made with one gluten free stock cube)
- 120ml non-dairy milk
- 1/8-1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (use less and amp it up if you're not sure)
- salt & pepper
- Spritz the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil spray and put on a medium heat. Add the onions and saute onions until they're translucent - about 5 minutes.
- Reserve 3-4 sprouts for garnish, then divide the remaining. Add the potato, chestnuts, 3/4 brussels sprouts and stock to the pan and cover. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes (mine took about 10 minutes altogether here), then blend until smooth and return to the pan (or use a stick blender, I do!)
- Add the remaining brussel sprouts and bring the soup back to a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the milk and nutmeg. Season to taste and serve, garnishing with the remaining brussel sprouts sliced into ribbons.
Tip: Be careful not to overcook your brussel sprouts - if you overcook them they release smelly gases (from sulphur compounds).