Hazelnut Parsnip Soup

According to Disney’s movie Tangled, hazelnut soup is Rapunzel’s favorite. My girls didn’t need any convincing to try this, and ate two bowls each at dinner and two more for lunch the next day. If your dinner guests are over the age of six, they may also appreciate this light, sophisticated take on a root-vegetable soup.

Prep time 45 minutes
Serves 6

11/2 cups (203 g) whole hazelnuts
5 tablespoons (71.3 g) Homemade Ghee or grass-fed butter
4 medium shallots, chopped
3 leeks (white parts only), chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
6 cups (1.4 liters) vegetable or Simple Chicken Stock
1 cup (235 ml) unsweetened almond milk

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
2 Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are toasted and fragrant.
3 Transfer the nuts to a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel around the nuts and roughen them up to remove most of the skins. (It’s fine if they don’t all come off.)
4 In a large, heavy pot, heat the ghee over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, leeks, parsnips, salt, and pepper, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the shallots and leeks have softened. Transfer mixture to a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker.
5 Whisk the tapioca flour into 1 cup (235 ml) of the stock. Pour into the cooker along with the remaining 5 cups (1.2 liters) of stock and 1 cup (135 g) of the toasted hazelnuts. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours on low (or 3 to 4 hours on high). The parsnips should be fork tender.
6 Transfer the soup to a high-power blender in batches and blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender within the slow cooker, but you may not get a smooth consistency without straining the soup.
7 Return the soup to the cooker and add the almond milk. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. You may need to add more if you use homemade, unsalted stock. If you need to reheat the soup, close the cooker and cook on high for about 15 minutes.
8 Chop the remaining 1/2 cup (68 g) toasted hazelnuts and sprinkle them over the soup when ready to serve.