barley-and-shitake-mushroom-soup2 Shiitake Stew with Chestnuts and Veggies 

Chestnuts are one of the few starchy, low fat nuts.  Chestnuts contain potassium, fiber, vitamins C, B1 and B6. They supply more carbohydrate than protein, but are surprisingly low in fat.  Six roasted chestnuts contain just slightly more then 1 gram of fat. The easiest way to roast your chestnuts is to cut an X through the flat part of the nut (through the skin of the nut).  Roast them in a heavy duty skillet on the stove top over medium heat, stirring every few minutes until the X starts to open up a bit and the chestnuts become fragrant.  You can add a little bit of water, about a tablespoon at a time to help with the steaming of the nut.  The process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cups low sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
2 cups mushroom broth
2 cups roasted chestnuts, peeled and chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cooking wine, divided
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter with olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, shiitake, carrot and celery. Sauté until tender and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in a tablespoon of wine. Set aside.

Add broth, chestnuts, and sweet potato to large stock pot. Bring to low boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. Add milk and 1 tablespoon cooking wine. Bring soup to simmer.

Add shiitake mixture to soup and stir to blend. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes and serve warm.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.