This is a nicely spiced and very rich soup, with a little kick of cayenne pepper.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the roasted apple garnish
- 1 large or 2 small tart apples, cored but not peeled, and sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- For the soup
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- 2 large stalks of celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 cup flour
- Leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 cups water
- 1 pound (about 3 medium) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 3 medium) tart cooking apples (such as Granny Smith), cored, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
For the roasted apple garnish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Combine the apples, butter, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl; spread the mixture in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
While the garnish is roasting, make the soup: Combine the butter, onion, garlic and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
Add the celery to the onion mixture and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the flour, thyme, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and cloves, stirring to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, until the mixture has thickened and is light brown.
Add the cider, water and potatoes; cook for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are almost cooked through yet still a little firm. Add the apples and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the apples and potatoes are soft. Remove from the heat.
Add the half-and-half and heavy cream. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the saucepan until it is smooth, or transfer in batches to a food processor and puree until smooth.
Stir the cheese into the finished soup, making sure it has melted. Taste and add salt as needed; divide among individual bowls and divide the roasted apple garnish among the portions, dropping dollops in the center of each serving. Serve warm.
From Juliet Mackay-Smith of the Locke Modern Country Store in Millwood, Va.
Tested by Tom Wilkinson.
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