Chestnut, Wild Mushroom and Onion Soup

4 ounces butter, divided
1 pound wild mushrooms (such as chanterelle, oyster or maitake)
1 (12-ounce) package frozen pearl onions, defrosted
1 (14-ounce) package cooked and peeled chestnuts (available at specialty-foods stores and online)
1/2 cup Marsala wine or sweet vermouth
1 quart stock (vegetable, chicken or beef depending on entree)
4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
Creme fraiche, for garnish (optional)
Truffle salt, for garnish (optional)

Melt 2 ounces of the butter in a wide, deep pan and cook the mushrooms in butter until caramelized and lightly browned. Add the onions and cook until caramelized. Add remaining butter and the cooked and peeled chestnuts. Deglaze pan with the Marsala or vermouth. Cook until almost dry.

Add the stock and thyme sprigs. Allow to cook for approximately 10 minutes until chestnuts become softer. Remove thyme sprigs and, in batches, blend soup in a blender. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain soup back into pot and keep warm until serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

— Recipe courtesy of Jacksonville Mercantile.

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