It's easy to go nutty in winter, when hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans and chestnuts fill produce bins in the supermarket.
Nuts are to soup what flour is to sauce. They thicken and they add texture. The best part is each nut's flavor can transform a pretty good soup into a sublime creation with depth and character, two attributes that rise above a mere nuttiness.
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil or oil from the artichoke hearts
- 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) low-sodium chicken stock
- 14 3/4-ounce marinated artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and ground
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Saute the shallot in oil over medium-low heat until very soft. Stir in the stock, chopped artichoke hearts and hazelnuts. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Combine a little of the hot broth with the rice flour to dissolve the flour, then stir the mixture back into the soup. Strain the soup through a medium-mesh strainer, or run through a food mill.
Return the soup to the pot. Stir in the cream and cook until thickened. Just before serving, stir in the sherry and chopped parsley.
From California food writer and cooking teacher Heidi Cusick.
Tested by The Washington Post.
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