Soup "Ombrette Sdegnosa" with Chestnuts and Truffles
1 small hen Pheasant
1 Leek (white part only)
1 sprig of Celery
20cls fresh Cream
Peel, clean and cut in half the
carrots, leek, celery and onions and place in 2 litres of lightly salted
water. Bring to the boil, then add the pheasant and allow to cook for 20
minutes. Take out the pheasant, remove the breasts and wings. These should
be wrapped in foil and kept warm. Return the carcass and rest of the
pheasant to the stock and simmer gently until the latter has reduced to
about 1 litre.
Split the skin of the chestnuts
with a knife and boil for 10 to 15 minutes in salt water. Peel thoroughly,
removing both inner and outer skins. Set aside 2 chestnuts per serving and
purée the rest. (Tinned or cooked vacuum-packed chestnuts,
available in some supermarkets, can be used if fresh chestnuts are not
Skim the fat off the stock,
strain and bring back to the boil. Heat the cream. Place the chestnut purée
in a hot bowl, pour on the stock, mixing thoroughly, add the hot cream and
blend. Adjust the seasoning.
Cut the pheasant breasts,
remaining chestnuts and the truffles into small cubes and place in the
heated soup plates. Pour on the soup and serve immediately.
Soups were a frequent item on
any 19th century menu and they seem to have been fairly high up on the
list of Rossini's preferred dishes. This recipe was originally intended
for snipe, but in view of current protection of this species, we opted for
pheasant, which works just as well.
Chestnuts, too, were a frequent
ingredient in all sorts of dishes in the 19th century. The blend of the
chestnuts with the cream, gives this soup a wonderfully smooth velvety
texture, which reveals the full delicate flavours of the pheasant and the
Choosing a wine to go with this
soup can be a lot of fun. We found that a Madeira was an excellent match.
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