Lentil and Chestnut Soup with Fennel

In between running errands and a doctor visit I put together this soup. It was exactly what I needed to complete my day. The nuttiness of the lentils combined with the sweetness of the chestnuts and earthy tones of the fennel was very tasty. A strange blend of ingredients for sure that is now a new fall favorite. Serve with a crisp green salad and you have a great meal.

Adapted from the cookbook "Vegetable Soups by Deborah Madison".


Lentil mixture:

1 cup lentils (Le Puy)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion (diced fine)
1 small bulb fennel, stalks and fronds removed (diced fine)
2 medium carrots (diced)
2 celery stalks (diced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch fennel seed
1 teaspoon salt

Chestnut mixture:

1 10-ounce can chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
(I used Trader Joe's peeled and cooked chestnuts)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine

For garnish:

Grated Parmesan
Drizzle olive oil

To prepare:

Soak lentils 1 - 2 hours.

In a heavy soup pot heat the olive oil, then add onion, fennel, carrot, celery, celery leaves, garlic, thyme, oregano and fennel seed. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain lentils and add to pot along with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 30-40 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs, and taste for salt.

While the lentils are cooking start on the chestnuts, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet, then add chopped chestnuts, fennel seed, thyme leaves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute over low heat for 2-3 minutes then add the tomato paste stirring until combined. Add wine and stir often until mixture is thick and reduced. Set aside. When the lentils are cooked, add the chestnut mixture to the pot. Simmer a few minutes to meld things together. Garnish and serve.


  1. This sounds really good! I've never had a soup quite like this before.

    PS - Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting :)

    1. No thank you. I love reading about your animals, especially your chickens. What personalities they have.


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