Sweet Potato and Chestnut Soup with Cheesy Crisps (VO, GFO)

This delicious soup can be frozen, and the parmesan crisps will last up to two days. For a vegan option, omit the crème fraîche and the ‘parmesan’ crisps; to make it gluten-free, use gluten-free flour.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

1kg sweet potato
2 leeks, peeled and finely sliced
3 x 200g packs of vacuum-packed chestnuts
1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 whole nutmeg for grating
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
(1 x 200ml tub crème fraîche optional)

For the parmesan crisps:
50g grated parmesan-style vegetarian cheese
1 tablespoon plain flour

Method

Preheat oven to 180°c, fan 170°c, gas mark 4.  Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks.  Sweat the leeks in a large saucepan for 10 minutes until soft and golden,  then add the sweet potato, two packets of the chestnuts, the stock and some seasoning.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and partially cover the pan. Allow the soup to simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

For the parmesan crisps, mix together the parmesan and flour with some freshly ground pepper.  Line a large baking sheet with baking paper and make 8 small circles of cheese mixture on the parchment, spacing them evenly.  Bake for 7-8 minutes or until they have spread and are lightly golden.  Cool slightly, then peel off paper and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Remove soup from heat and allow to cool a little.  Then whiz in a blender until smooth (do this in a couple of batches if necessary).  Return the soup into the pan; if it is too thick, add a little water. Add the freshly grated nutmeg, the cumin and paprika and simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop up the last packet of chestnuts and set aside.  For serving, put the soup in the individual bowls, add a spoonful of crème fraîche, a scattering of chopped chestnuts and a grating of nutmeg.  Serve with the parmesan crisps.

The Food for Friends recipe iBook is now available for download for £7.99 on iPad and Mac:

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