For the Dumplings:
Two handfuls of Chestnuts (or 6 rashers of bacon, if you prefer)
1 garlic Clove, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of Flat Leaf Parsley
3 tablespoons of a good Vegan parmesan (regular parmesan would also work!)
Freshly ground salt & black pepper

For the Soup:
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, chopped
200g celeriac, peeled and chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
A few thyme sprigs
1 1/4 litres vegetable stock
Extra picked or chopped flat-leaf parsley, celery leaves and parmesan cheese to serve.

  1. First make the dumplings. Finely mince the chestnuts, in a food processor, if you have one. If it is too coarsely chopped the dumplings risk falling apart, so spend some time on these. Mix together with the garlic, parsley and cheese in a bowl. If your chestnuts are too dry, add a little oil, or a little flour if they need a little help sticking. Divide the mixture into 12 and shape into small balls, pressing together firmly with your hands. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.
    If you are using bacon over chestnuts, cut off any rind from the bacon (and save to add to the soup later), finely mince and add to rest of mixture.
  2. To make the soup, heat the rapeseed oil in a large saucepan. Put in the onion (and reserved bacon rind, if using) and dry over a low heat until soft. Add the carrot and fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the fennel and fry for another 2 minutes, adding more oil if needed. Next add the celeriac and celery, frying for another 1-2 minutes.
    Add the thyme springs, then pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Drop in the dumplings and gently simmer, without boiling, for about 4 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs (and bacon rind) to serve. Check the seasonings.
  4. Garnish the soup with more parsley, celery leaves and a grating of the cheese. Serve with some crusty bread for a delicious easy meal.