Almond Soup

If you like almonds, this soup is a bit special and makes a nice first course for a dinner party, or maybe for your someone particular on Valentine’s Day. You can make most of it ahead (in fact it is better if you do) and just finish the last bits when you want to serve it.

You can buy blanched almonds, but I always have a jar full of almonds and it is simple to blanch them yourself. Just pour boiling water over the almonds and wait 2 minutes. The almonds shoot right out of the skins when you pinch them.

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1.8 litres chicken stock
1/2 cup whole almonds (blanched)
1 leek, washed and cut in half
1/4 cup rice
3 egg yolks
1-2 Tbsp. Amaretto
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Pour the stock into a soup pot and add the almonds, rice and leek. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Let this cool enough to put into the blender (or, it can be put into the fridge at this point to be continued the next day if you are making it ahead).

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FYI and safety note: if you have never put hot liquid into a blender, be advised that the steaming contents will want to shoot back out at you. My advise is to let it cool first, but if you insist on doing it hot, (like I did this time) put only a small amount in the blender, cover the top with a thick towel, and press down firmly on the lid).

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Pour the blended liquid back into the soup pot. Combine the 3 egg yolks with the whipping cream and pour into the soup. Heat the soup gently, stirring, until it is hot and slightly thickened. Do not let it boil. Add the Amaretto. Sprinkle the toasted nuts over top to serve.

To make the toasted nuts:
Place sliced almonds in a frying pan. Cook for a short time over medium heat. Toss them to toast the other side. This whole process will take 1-3 minutes depending on the heat of your pan. Do not walk away or you will have burnt almonds.

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