Mushroom, Hazelnut, and Roasted Garlic Soup

Hazelnuts add an unusual and delicate flavor to this rich mix. This is excellent as winter appetizer or lunchtime filler.

Serves: 6

10 large Garlic Cloves (skins left on)
2-3 tbls. Light Olive Oil
1/2 Ib. Mushrooms (sliced)
1/4 cup Ground Hazelnuts
2 1/4 cups Vegetable Stock
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2/3 tspn. Grated Nutmeg
2 cups Milk
2/3 cup Heavy Cream
Fresh Tarragon Sprigs (for garnish)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Brush the garlic cloves with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the flesh from the skins, and mash.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the mushrooms and cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, until the juices begin to run out. Put the lid on the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

3. Stir the mashed garlic and the ground hazelnuts into the mixture, then add the stock, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir the ingredients together. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.

4. Allow the mixture to cool, then puree it in a blender or food processor until really smooth. Return to the pan and stir in the milk. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Allow the mixture to heat through, without boiling. Just before serving, stir in the cream. Serve the soup garnished with fresh tarragon.

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