Your Concierge Physician Invites You to the Asian Markets for Fresh Chestnuts for Delicious Soup

December 2, 2013

This is the season for fresh Asian chestnuts. We are fortunate to have two excellent Korean markets that not only sell the fresh chestnuts but also have a machine to remove the outer shell. Removing the shell is the most time-consuming part of cooking chestnuts.
If you have not shopped at Market World, on the corner of Sepulveda and Maple in Torrance or S – Mart, on the corner of Crenshaw and Torrance Boulevards in Torrance you are missing a treat. In addition to having a wide variety of Asian foods both have an excellent produce department. They have organic and regular produce. Their prices are excellent. They both sell fresh chestnuts when they are in season. Once you pay for the chestnuts they will put them in a machine to remove the shells.
By the way there are two Middle Eastern markets that also have good produce and a variety of Middle Eastern items. The produce selection is not as large as the Korean markets. Of course for produce that is in season you can’t beat the farmers markets. I posted the locations and hours of our local farmers markets in July. You can find that on my website.
The Asian stores also sell disposable bags that look like teabags. I think the Japanese use them for a seasoning called Dashi.( We like to use dashi in flavoring greens and Kabocha squash.) You can use cheesecloth and tie up a little bag or you can buy these. I am including a picture so you will know what I am talking about.
disposable bag and package

disposable bad instructions

This is my version of healthy chestnut soup:
When I make this soup I make a big pot and share it with my family and friends. You may want to cut the recipe in half.
I take the chestnuts that have been shelled and put about a pound and a half in a covered  glass bowl with some water,  in the microwave and cook for about eight minutes. Since the chestnuts will be cooking in broth you may be able to omit this step but I have not tried that.
In a large pot on the stove I put chicken broth and 4 cups of chopped onions, 4 cups of chopped carrots, and 4 cups of chopped celery. I use enough chicken broth to have liquid to cook the vegetables in.
In my little disposable pouch I put four large bay leaves, about 12 whole cloves, and about eight sprigs of parsley.
I add the cooked chestnuts and flavoring pouch to the pot of vegetables and broth along with about a half cup of white wine and let it simmer for about an hour.
I remove the flavoring pouch and blend the soup.  I usually add 2 cups of milk. If the soup is too thick I add more chicken broth. I add pepper to taste.
I noticed that the recipes on the Internet use butter, flour, and heavy cream. We find this soup is incredible without these extra ingredients.
You do not need to be precise with the quantities or proportions of ingredients and you may vary the ingredients to your liking. I hope you and your family and friends enjoyed the soup as much as we do.

As your Concierge Doctor I welcome your comments and questions at 310 373-5566