Japanese Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup

by Tokyo Terrace on January 5, 2010

Instead of making a traditional Osechi this year, I decided to take the same foods that are frequently eaten at the New Year in Japan and make alternative dishes instead, like Lotus Root Chips and this Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup.

Chestnuts, despite the name, are less like a nut and more like a starch. The texture is similar to that of a cooked potato, but a bit less grainy. The flavor is gentle and when roasted has a slightly smoky-sweet flavor. While seasonal fresh chestnuts are my favorite, the vacuum-packed variety are just fine for the purposes of making this soup. (I have tried roasting and peeling my own chestnuts but have yet to master the process. I will try again next year when chestnuts are back in season to get more practice!)

For this soup, I’ve combined chestnuts with Japanese sweet potatoes (satsumaimo) to create a creamy, comforting soup that is perfect for post-holiday light meals. With just a small amount of cream to tie the soup together, this soup is hearty without being overly rich. And the best part? It only takes 30 minutes to make! I know. That’s pretty sweet.

Japanese Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 lb. Japanese sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (or other variety of sweet potato)
1 cup vacuum packed chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 large yellow onion (or 1 medium/small) chopped
6 cups chicken stock/broth
2 tablespoons Japanese Whiskey (you can use other types of whiskey, but I’ve only used Japanese. Sherry is also an option)
1 tablespoon honey
salt and white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped flat leave parsley, for garnish

In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until soft. Add the potatoes and increase heat to medium high. Cook the potatoes for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure nothing burns. Add the chestnuts and stir into the potato/onion mixture. Pour the chicken stock into the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes and chestnuts are fork tender. Use an immersion blender to combine the ingredients (or work carefully in batches with a regular blender) until creamy. Stir in the whiskey and honey and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, salt and pepper. Ladle into 4 serving bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately.

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  • http://www.norecipes.com/ Marc @ NoRecipes

    Thanks for the link, your soup looks delicious! Just the thing to cure a hangover and warm you up on a cold january morning:-)

  • http://www.norecipes.com Marc @ NoRecipes

    Thanks for the link, your soup looks delicious! Just the thing to cure a hangover and warm you up on a cold january morning:-)

  • http://teajewel.wordpress.com/ candice

    This sounds absolutely delicious. I also tried to roast chestnuts once… and failed. My dad seems to know the trick, but he boils them. Nonetheless, I love Japanese sweet potatoes, and I’ll be bookmarking this. :)

  • http://teajewel.wordpress.com candice

    This sounds absolutely delicious. I also tried to roast chestnuts once… and failed. My dad seems to know the trick, but he boils them. Nonetheless, I love Japanese sweet potatoes, and I’ll be bookmarking this. :)

  • http://topsy.com/tb/tokyoterrace.com/2010/01/05/japanese-chestnut-and-sweet-potato-soup/ Tweets that mention Japanese Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup « Tokyo Terrace — Topsy.com

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Naoto T. Ueno (上野直人, Rachael White. Rachael White said: New Post: Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup http://wp.me/pvrJ1-tT [...]

  • http://kyotofoodie.com/ Michael [KyotoFoodie]

    A happy new year to you!

    Oh, nice one! Chestnuts and satsuma imo are a wonderful combination. I also like chestnuts in rice. I did a pretty good article about yaki kuri gohan last fall on KF. Also, I am really into Japanese whisky recently and thought about using it for cooking. Like yuzu marmalade cooked in whisky, or at least mugi shochu. Can you identify the taste in the soup with just 2 tablespoons. (I would probably put in like 2 cups.)

  • http://kyotofoodie.com Michael [KyotoFoodie]

    A happy new year to you!

    Oh, nice one! Chestnuts and satsuma imo are a wonderful combination. I also like chestnuts in rice. I did a pretty good article about yaki kuri gohan last fall on KF. Also, I am really into Japanese whisky recently and thought about using it for cooking. Like yuzu marmalade cooked in whisky, or at least mugi shochu. Can you identify the taste in the soup with just 2 tablespoons. (I would probably put in like 2 cups.)

  • http://www.ubervu.com/conversations/tokyoterrace.com/2010/01/05/japanese-chestnut-and-sweet-potato-soup/ uberVU – social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by tokyoterrace: New Post: Chestnut and Sweet Potato Soup http://wp.me/pvrJ1-tT...

  • http://sophisticatedgourmet.com/ kamran siddiqi

    Looks warm and yummalicious. Something I need to start focusing on because it’s winter and all… I need to put up a couple soup recipes… Anyway, beautiful post Rachael!

  • http://sophisticatedgourmet.com kamran siddiqi

    Looks warm and yummalicious. Something I need to start focusing on because it’s winter and all… I need to put up a couple soup recipes… Anyway, beautiful post Rachael!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    This looks gorgeous and comforting. I am a fan of both chestnuts and sweet potatoes but have yet to combine them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com Melody Fury

    This looks gorgeous and comforting. I am a fan of both chestnuts and sweet potatoes but have yet to combine them. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://thelacquerspoon.blogspot.com/ the lacquer spoon

    Happy New Year from one corner of Tokyo and I’ve got your site from Mr.Shizuoka Gourmet! I love a chestnut soup too which is both seasonal and comforting. Looking forward to your beautiful post soon :)

  • http://thelacquerspoon.blogspot.com the lacquer spoon

    Happy New Year from one corner of Tokyo and I’ve got your site from Mr.Shizuoka Gourmet! I love a chestnut soup too which is both seasonal and comforting. Looking forward to your beautiful post soon :)

  • http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/ DebinHawaii

    Beautiful photos and a gorgeous soup–I have not had chestnut soup in ages.

  • http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/ DebinHawaii

    Beautiful photos and a gorgeous soup–I have not had chestnut soup in ages.

  • http://wasabiprime.blogspot.com/ wasabi prime

    Delicious! This dish is pure winter wonderful. If you have any of those delicate lotus root chips left, they would make for a beautiful garnish. But I’m sure that’s impossible, as those amazing chips have probably been om-nom-nommed away!

  • http://wasabiprime.blogspot.com wasabi prime

    Delicious! This dish is pure winter wonderful. If you have any of those delicate lotus root chips left, they would make for a beautiful garnish. But I’m sure that’s impossible, as those amazing chips have probably been om-nom-nommed away!

  • http://www.honeyandjam.com/ Hannah

    Yum! Such beautiful photos.

  • http://www.honeyandjam.com Hannah

    Yum! Such beautiful photos.

  • http://kitchenmusings.com veron

    yum, chestnuts and sweet potatoes, two of my favorite things!

  • http://www.sense-serendipity.blogspot.com Divina

    Yum, this looks really good. I almost miss this post. Love sweet potatoes. Better make this before the hot weather arrives next month.

  • http://katspoetry.wordpress.com Kat

    I have to try this! It just sounds absolutely delicious, and what an interesting flavor combination :)

  • http://www.theediblelibrary.com meaghan

    This soup looks amazing, I have some frozen and peeled chestnuts, which I’ll try to use.
    I noticed a typo in the recipe–’chicken salt’ instead of ‘chicken broth’.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://tokyokitchentales.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/seasonal-spotlight-chestnuts/ Seasonal spotlight: Chestnuts « Tales from a Tokyo Kitchen

    [...] Japanese chestnut and sweet potato soup from Tokyo Terrace [...]

  • http://www.tokyoterrace.com/2011/10/apple-pie-oatmeal/ Apple Pie Oatmeal — Tokyo Terrace

    [...] reminded me of the season’s offerings. Did you know that it is persimmon season already? And chestnut season? Well, it is. And I almost missed it! That was a close [...]

  • http://www.tokyoterrace.com/2011/11/kurigohan-japanese-chestnut-rice/ Kurigohan (Japanese Chestnut Rice) — Tokyo Terrace

    [...] been a little shy of trying to make anything involving chestnuts at home, short of this soup I made a couple years ago. This year, I decided to put on my big girl panties and try something [...]

  • http://www.tokyoterrace.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-recipe-ideas/ Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas — Tokyo Terrace

    [...] Chestnut & Sweet Potato Soup and Pommes Japanna add elegance to the table. [...]

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