Native American Hazelnut Soup
The Algonquin, Iroquois, and most other Native people of the northern woodlands regions prepared nuts in many ways, including versions of this delicious soup.
- 1 pound hazelnuts
- 6 to 8 ramps, green onions, white part only
- 1/2 cup watercress, including tender stems
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut, sunflower or corn oil
- About 4 cups vegetable stock or water
- 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until toasted.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, place the nuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much of the papery skins as possible.
- Trim the roots from the ramps and remove any woody stems and flowers. Thinly slice the ramps, with their tops on, and set aside.
- Rinse and drain the watercress, removing woody stems or pale leaves. Chop the watercress coarsely.
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the ramps and watercress and wilt for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Add the stock and hazelnuts. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the nuts are softened and the flavors have developed.
- In small batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and process until smooth (don't fill the processor more than 1/3 full.)
- Return the puree to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more liquid to thin, if necessary, and stir in the salt.
- Ladle into warm bowls and serve immediately.
Source: Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions