Pistachios add mellow flavor to this hot soup, both as an ingredientand as a crunchy garnish. You can serve small portions for a firstcourse, or offer heartier servings as a luncheon entree, along with acrisp salad.
Cream of Pistachio Soup 1-1/2 cups shelled (3 cups or 12oz. in shell) natural, roasted, or roasted salted pistachios 1 smallonion, finely chopped 1/2 cup chopped celery 1 clove garlic, minced orpressed 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or margarine 2 tablespoons dry sherry 1large can (49-1/2 oz.) or 6 cups regular-strength chicken broth 1/4 cuplong-grain white rice 2 parsley sprigs 1 small bay leaf 1 cup whippingcream Whole chives Rub off as much of the pistachio skins as possible; set nuts aside. In a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium heat, cook the onion, celery,and garlic in the butter until onion is very limp but not brown, about10 minutes; stir often. Add sherry, 3/4 cup of the pistachios, broth, rice, parsley, andbay leaf.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer untilrice is tender to bite, about 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf. In a blender or food processor, whirl soup, a portion at a time,until very smooth; pour through a wire strainer and discard residue.Return soup to pan. Add cream to soup and stir over medium-low heat until hot, 5 to 7minutes. Garnish servings with whole chives and sprinkle with theremaining pistachios. Make 6-1/2 cups, enough for 6 first-course or 4luncheon servings.