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Hungarian Cream of Chestnut Soup - Gesztenye Leves


Hungarian Chestnut Soup or Gesztenye Leves

Hungarian Chestnut Soup or Gesztenye Leves

© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This Hungarian recipe for cream of chestnut soup or gesztenye leves (KES-ten-yeh LEH-vesh) is flavored with ham. It's an ideal soup for fall and winter because of its color and the addition of apples, parsnips, carrots and leeks, which give it a slightly sweet flavor. With today's cooked chestnuts available year-round, however, it can be made anytime of year. Here is more about chestnuts.

Here's a larger photo of cream of chestnut soup.

Makes 6 servings of Hungarian Cream of Chestnut Soup or Gesztenye Leves

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 12-14 ounces cooked and peeled chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons sweet or hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 pound julienne-sliced leftover ham
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. If using fresh chestnuts: Score the bottom of 1 pound of chestnuts with an "X" and bring to a boil in a large saucepan of water. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Cool slightly and peel. Let cool completely before chopping finely.

  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter and saute parsnips, carrots, apples and leeks, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender. Mix in the ham, chestnuts, paprika and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream and egg yolks. Temper this mixture with a few ladles of hot soup broth, whisking constantly. Then pour the tempered cream-egg yolk mixture into the soup, whisking constantly for 1 minute or until soup has thickened. Season to taste. Serve with sour cream, if desired.
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