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story.lead_photo.caption Cauliflower Soup with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Tom McCorkle

This nourishing bowl is like the cashmere throw of soups — cozy and comforting, in the most luxurious, stylish way. Made with cauliflower that gets simmered with shallots and potato, in broth, until softened, and then blended until smooth, the soup is ultra-creamy and filling. (The potato gives it an extra layer of satisfying body.)

That lovely off-white puree becomes the canvas for a spray of toppings, which amplify its earthy, nutty flavors while contrasting its creaminess: an exciting mix of meaty sauteed mushrooms, kissed with sherry vinegar and tossed with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and fresh parsley.

The resulting warm bowl of goodness is a first-class upgrade from your basic pureed vegetable soup.

The soup and topping (minus the hazelnuts) can both be made up to 4 days ahead and stored in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. (Add the hazelnuts to the topping just before serving to keep them crunchy.)

Creamy Cauliflower Soup With Mushroom and Hazelnut Topping

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

½ cup chopped shallots

1 medium head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1-inch florets (about 6 cups)

1 (6-ounce) Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces

4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use

½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided use

½ cup hazelnuts (see note)

4 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake and chanterelles, stemmed, sliced and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they have softened a bit but have not browned, about 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, potato, broth, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower and potato are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth, or let cool slightly and puree in 3 to 4 batches in a regular blender.

While the soup cooks, make the topping: Place the hazelnuts in a dry medium skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and let cool. Remove the skins if necessary (see note), then coarsely chop.

Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Return the pan to the heat and warm 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their liquid and start to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Stir in the hazelnuts, parsley, the remaining tablespoon of oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle about a cup of soup into each bowl and top each with about 2 heaping tablespoons of the topping.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: If possible, buy hazelnuts that have already had their skins removed. If they are not available, once you have toasted and cooled the nuts, place them on one half of a clean kitchen towel, fold the towel over the nuts and rub vigorously to remove any loose skins. It is OK if some skins remain.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 200 calories, 6 g protein, 14 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate (3 g sugar), no cholesterol, 600 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1.

Food on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: Cuddle up with some cauliflower soup

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