This is a fabulous soup and the hazelnuts add a real edge to it. The great thing about serving soup for a dinner party is that it can be made ahead of time and then just regenerated as required. If your main course is running late give the soup an extra boil and by the time it is cool enough to drink, hopefully main course will be back on track.
I normally use 2/3 button mushrooms in this soup and 1/3 wild mushrooms as the wild mushrooms are much more expensive.
1lb/450g selection of mushrooms (mixture of button & wild)
1 leek-thinly sliced
2 sticks celery
1 large onion-chopped roughly
2-3 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1oz/25g plain flour
1 ½ pints/900ml chicken/vegetable stock
4floz/110ml pouring cream
2oz/50g roasted hazelnuts-chopped roughly
Slice and prepare all mushrooms
Roughly chop the vegetables (onions, leeks and celery) and sauté gently in a large saucepan with the butter for 4-5 minutes, with about ¾ of the sliced mushrooms. Retain the remaining sliced mushrooms to garnish the soup just prior to service.
After 2-3 minutes you can stir in the flour and use it to coat all of the vegetables but also to dry up any other liquids in the pan and this will act as a thickening agent.
Carefully pour in the stock and the cream and bring the entire mixture to the boil and then reduce to a low simmer until the vegetables are all tender
Meanwhile Sauté the remaining mushrooms in a little butter.
Season as appropriate, blitz with a hand blitzer or food processor
Serve immediately in warmed cups or bowls with a little natural yoghurt, some crushed hazelnuts and the sliced sautéed mushrooms.
To garnish-Crush some hazelnuts and sprinkle over the soup.
To raost hazelnuts-Place the hazelnuts onto a flat baking tray and into a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until the sins darken. Transfer to a clean tea towel, rub gently and the skins will be removed. Retain and use as required.