This recipe features in the River Cottage Christmas special as seen on Channel 4, December 2011. The recipe is orginally from Hugh's River Cottage Veg Every Day, but has been kindly donated to the Festive Freeze recipe catalogue. 

Preperation time: 10 mins. Cooking time: 30-40 mins.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

1 tbs rapeseed oil

15g butter

1 onion, chopped

6 sage leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to finish

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 litre vegetable stock

400g cooked, peeled chestnuts

100ml crème fraîche, plus extra for garnish

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying 


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil and the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat and sweat the onion for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the sage and garlic and sauté for a minute.
  2. Pour in the stock and add most of the chestnuts – reserve a handful for finishing. Season with salt and pepper, increase the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, then purée until very smooth in a blender. Return the soup to the pan, add the crème fraîche and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Warm through gently – do not let it boil.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the reserved chestnuts. Heat some sunflower oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the sage leaves for a few seconds until crisp, then drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Ladle the soup into espresso cups, add a small spoon of crème fraiche and gently swirl into the soup,  scatter on the chestnuts and sage leaves. Serve immediately.

Recipe provided by River Cottage.