Adding chestnuts to just about everything in is a habit I picked up when living in China when roasted chestnuts were sold cheap on the side of the road all winter. They add a lovely nutty sweetness to this soup which is a perfect one for using up all the little bits of vegies in your fridge, I just used whatever bits of vegies I had in my fridge so you can substitute any vegies that you have.
5-6 raw chestnuts
1 litre vegetable stock
1/2 cup green lentils3 tbsp brown rice
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp bulghur
3 tbsp quinoa
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 cup of finely chopped cauliflower
3-4 button mushrooms, diced
5 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 zucchini, diced
1/3 cup soup pasta
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven or grill to high (as in over 200 degrees Celsius) and roast the chestnuts until they are slightly blackened on the outside and the shells are cracking. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing the shells, incuding as much of the dark brown skin underneath the shell as possible. Chop the chestnuts roughly and set aside to use later.
2. Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and add the lentils, brown rice and garlic. Simmer covered for 10 minutes while you prep all your other vegies.
3. Add the quinoa, bulghur, carrot, celery, cauliflower, mushroom, tomato paste, paprika and peas and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the grains are well cooked.
4. Once all the vegies and grains are cooked add the pasta, zucchini and chestnuts and simmer, stirring frequently, until the pasta is cooked (you may need to add a bit more water to stop all the pasta and grains sticking to the bottom).
5. Once the pasta is cooked through turn off the heat and stir the baby spinach leaves through and then serve immediately.