Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
Fancy a bowl of warming comfort food for an extra vitamin D boost? Then this Mushroom and Chestnut Soup is just the ticket. It’s made with a mix of fresh and dried mushrooms, which gives it a richer flavour. These are mixed with sweet chestnuts, which provide a superb flavour complement to the mushrooms while also thickening and giving the soup a creamy texture, without the need for cream.
When you hear the word “chestnut,” your mind immediately goes to Christmas, but this little nut not only adds a little additional lean protein to your diet in the autumn and winter months, but it also enhances the immune system and is considered to be a nourishing tonic that helps to balance hormones.
Mushrooms are packed full of amazing nutrients and have been involved in the health of humans since ancient times. The compounds in mushrooms help to support the immune system and prevent infections (they are known to contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties) and have been linked in studies to helping prevent auto immune diseases such as arthritis. Mushrooms are a great source of protein, are rich in selenium and vitamin D and are a good source of B vitamins including folate and niacin which are all important for fertility, brain health, mood and general health too. Eaten raw mushrooms are a portion of great prebiotic food and help to feed the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut. The very fact that white mushrooms contain a great amount of vitamin D (they absorb more when placed in sunlight) means that they are great not only in relation to supporting the immune system but also for hormone health and bone health.
Nutritious and Delicious Chestnut and Porcini Soup
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 sticks of celery
10 g dried mushrooms
Pinch of nutmeg
Half a teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme)
500 g porcini mushrooms (cep)
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
500 ml vegetable stock
180 g of whole, roasted chestnuts
Approximately 500 ml milk of your choice
25 g butter (or vegan alternative) and 1 tablespoon of plain flour (optional)
How to make:
Heat the oil in a large pan. Peel and chop the onion and shallot and slice the celery sticks finely. Add to the pan together with the dried mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add in a pinch of nutmeg and the thyme. Cook very gently for around 12 minutes until the vegetables are soft and sweet. Chop the fresh mushrooms and add to the pan together with the crushed garlic cloves. Cook for a further ten minutes. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to the boil. As soon as the soup has boiled, take the pan off the heat and add the chestnuts. Allow the soup to cool slightly and then blend until smooth using a food processor or hand-held blender. Add the milk (or nut milk) to thin the soup to your desired consistency. Gently re-heat the soup and then serve with some delicious homemade bread and a little butter. Enjoy!