There is a sweet, nutty flavor to this puréed soup that makes it a great start to a fall meal. It’s vegetarian, creamless, and quick to boot, so it’s a great choice when you have to contend with dietary restrictions.
1Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. When it foams, add olive oil, shallots, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2Add apples and sage, season with additional salt and pepper, and cook, stirring rarely, until apples are tender, about 10 minutes.
3Add chestnuts, broth, water, and apple juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apples and celery are tender, about 15 minutes.
4Using a blender, purée soup in batches. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve garnished with croutons.
Beverage pairing:Eric Bordelet Sidre Doux, France. This sparkling apple cider from Normandy is technically off-dry, but it tastes pretty dry and the level of sweetness will be perfect for the soup. Indeed, the cider has some nuttiness to touch on the chestnuts and enough acid zip to play wonderfully with the croutons. In addition, the carbonation will be a pleasant textural contrast to the creamy soup.