1 pound peeled chestnuts (jars of peeled chestnuts can be purchased at most finer grocery stores)
2 to 3 cups beef or vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Crème fraîche or sour cream
Small square of dark chocolate (over 60% cacao), or cocoa powder for garnish
Put the peeled chestnuts in a saucepan with 2 cups of the stock. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes, adding more stock, if necessary, to keep the chestnuts covered. When the chestnuts are tender, drain, reserving the stock. Purée the chestnuts in a food processor or blender. Return the puréed chestnuts to the reserved stock, stirring, and add in the heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and dust with cocoa powder or grate some dark chocolate on top. *This recipe has been modified from the original, which appears in French Women For All Seasons.