I LOVE THIS RECIPEEEEEEEE! Hopefully my yelling didn’t startle you. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for an eternity to share it. My version came to be as most greats do by accident. I was following instructions from The New England Soup Factory Cookbook when I brazenly plunged the immersion blender into the pot and puréed the apples and onions until they were just shy of smooth. This step was definitely not called for and I certainly hadn’t planned the indiscretion, yet it just felt right… and tasted even better. Now instead of being distinct flavors, they mingled on the spoon as one and then… just as the heavens opened…..it sang out to me…in perfect harmony… or perhaps I just imagined that part.
This soup is never far from my mind but no matter how much I crave it and how hard I try to imagine things differently, its custom made for the season where leaves crunch, bold wind gusts rein and the falling dusk says light a fire, open a bottle and nestle in for the night. Is there anything better? I adore the ease and energy of summer, yet my soul thrives in the beauty of fall and the oodles of tastes associated with it….especially apples.
Worried that my beloved New York McIntosh wouldn’t weather the trip to TX, when the box arrived instead of immediately opening it, I took a moment to indulge and breath in the sweet, fresh fragrance that shrouded the carton and hung in the air as if promising of more pleasures to come. With baited breath, I broke the calm and tore into the box…revealing (thankfully) the most pristine half-bushel I’ve ever laid eyes on. They survived! And within an hour they were minus 2.
Apples make delicious savory soups and as you peruse the ingredient list below I’m quite certain you’ll hear “ding” “ding” “ding” and instantly jump on my bandwagon as to why this soup is a must for fall…kinda sounds like a fashion trend. We’ve already covered the apples, but there’s also apple cider, caraway, cheddar and Calvados….an assembly of fall flavors. I’m sure by now you’re reaching for a cozy wrap (here’s the one I’m coveting, which thankfully for my bank account is sold out) and heading straight to the farmers market. Last time I made tender whole grain sandwiches with salty ham and a smear of Dijon (perfect complement to the soup), but this time I went for a Ham Gruyere Tart to make things a little fancier, but with practically the same ease as slapping together a sandwich. Now, the only thing left to do is light a fire (or flip the switch), open a bottle of Champagne and nestle in!
Adapted from the New England Soup Factory Cookbook.
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 5 sweet onions, sliced
- 3 lbs McIntosh or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 6 cups homemade chicken broth
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 tsp caraway seeds, toasted in a dry skillet over medium high heat until fragrant (about 5 minutes)
- 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 TBSP Calvados
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
- Melt butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.
- Add the onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Sauté for 25 minutes until the onions are soft and golden. Stir occasionally. Add the garlic for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Add the apples and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
- Next add the chicken broth, cider, caraway seeds and thyme.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce to medium, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and puree. I used an immersion blender.
- Add cream and cheese and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
- Stir in Calvados, salt and pepper.
- Return to the stove and gently simmer for about 3 minutes.
- My go-to cheddar to eat and cook with is Black Diamond. It’s a Canadian cheese that is aged to perfection. I’m in love with the 5-year aged, but it’s difficult to find. Not many stores carry it due to the cost; however, you can usually find the 3-year aged. When you cook or bake with cheese, I think it’s important to use one that is strong and can stand up to the rest of the ingredients, otherwise, what’s the point?
- I mentioned champagne above and because the soup is sweeter than most, it’s important to pair it with something dry and crisp. I also like something a bit saltier to eat alongside it as well.
- Be sure to use a tart apple variety because sweet ones won’t provide enough contrast in the soup.
- If you don’t have or don’t care to use Calvados , replace it with freshly squeezed lemon juice.