Greatest recipes ever: Sam and Sam Clark’s chestnut and chorizo soup

Warm in flavour and hugely comforting, this is especially good sipped from a Thermos when shooting or watching fireworks.

Sam and Sam Clark’s Moro: The Cookbook includes a recipe which they originally found elsewhere, as Sam describes: ‘This recipe is taken from one of the first cookbooks that I ever bought, and I think I’ve cooked almost everything in it.

‘The soup is typically Spanish: simple but satisfying, subtle yet packed with layers of wonderful flavour.

‘The sweetness of the chestnuts and the salty, spicy nature of the chorizo are perfect bedfellows, and the colour of the soup matches the rich seasonal hues outside.’

Sopa de castañas– chestnut and chorizo soup

Serves 4


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stick, thinly sliced
  • 120g mild cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1½tsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 small dried red chillies, crushed
  • 2 tomatoes, fresh or tinned, roughly chopped
  • 500g cooked, peeled chestnuts fresh or vacuum-packed), roughly chopped
  • 20 saffron threads, infused in 3-4 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 litre water
  • Sea salt and black pepper

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In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, chorizo and a pinch of salt and fry for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything caramelises and turns quite brown. This gives the soup a wonderfully rich colour and taste.

Now add the garlic, cumin, thyme and chilli and cook for one more minute, followed by the tomato and, after about two minutes, the chestnuts.

Give everything a good stir, then add the saffron-infused liquid, and the water, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mash by hand (with a potato masher) until almost smooth but still with a little bit of texture. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

And to drink…

It’s worth tracking down well-made, traditional Rioja-perfect autumn drinking-which is a great partner for this soup. Viña Cubillo Rioja Criaza, Tondonia 2005 (£17.50, Fortnum & Mason) is a classic, medium-bodied wine with stylish purity, but which also offers layers of pretty fruit. It stands up to the chorizo, cumin and chillies beautifully to complete the Iberian experience.

Chosen by Tim French, Fortnum & Mason