Roasted Chestnut Soup. Serrano Ham & Madeira:

(serves 8 to 10)

For The Soup:

1# cleaned whole chestnuts
4 ounces Serrano ham or Prosciutto trimmings, small diced
1 cup Madeira
¼ yellow onion, small diced
1 celery stalk, small diced
1 small carrot, peeled & small diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
4 slices Serrano ham, julienned
2 tablespoons blended oil, plus 1 cup to fry
salt & white pepper to taste

Method For The Soup:

Sauté the ham trimmings with the blended oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the meat begins to brown. Add the onion, celery, garlic and carrot and sauté until the vegetables are tender, about five minutes. Meanwhile toss the chestnuts with a small amount of blended oil and salt and roast in a 400-degree oven until slightly browned. Add the Madeira to de-glaze the saucepan and reduce it until almost dry. Add the roasted chestnuts and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add the heavy cream and continue to simmer another five minutes. Puree the soup mixture in a blender until smooth, while adjusting the seasoning, and pass through a fine mesh sieve. Next, heat a small sauté pan of 1cup blended oil and fry the julienne of ham until crispy. Remove onto paper towels and reserve.

To Plate:

Ladle six ounces of soup per person into warmed soup dishes and garnish with the crispy Serrano.