- 400g frozen peeled chestnuts
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1/2 fennel bulb, stalks and core discarded and bulb coarsely chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup milk
1. Coarsely chop chestnuts, reserving 2-3 tablespoons for garnish.
2. Cook shallot and leeks in 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add wine and simmer until almost all liquid is evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in fennel, broth, chestnuts (excluding garnish), and water, then simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Stir in milk and cool mixture slightly.
3. Purée mixture in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer, thinning with water if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
4. While soup is reheating, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a pan over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté reserved chestnuts with salt and pepper to taste, stirring constantly, until crisp and butter is browned, about 8-10 minutes.
5. Serve soup topped with chestnuts and drizzled with browned butter.