Today was a blustery Autumn-y day… absolutely perfect for soup. So soup was had.
We’ve reached that time of year when it becomes more difficult to take pictures with natural light, since the days are getting shorter (and soon the end of daylight savings… Eek!) but it seems a small price to pay for soup weather. The wind has been blowing quite awesomely tonight so I’m hoping tomorrow we’ll see some big rollers washing over our sea-bound lighthouse, a favorite Fall activity.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes… soup weather.
The thing I love about soup is just how easy it is to make. Throw a few things together in a pot, add some chicken stock, a few herbs, a little time, and a blender, and there ya have it! Soup. It’s a great way to get the kids to eat some vegetables, especially when I haul out the ole Make-It-Yourself trick. A small bowl of soup, a few fun topping (popcorn, home made croutons, apple-celery hash, and bacon!), and there my kids are, eating vegetables they would normally not touch and even calling it delicious. Such is the power of the Make-It-Yourself (and Bacon) Magic.
It also helps that the soup becomes a convenient dip for crackers or bread. It’s taken years of training, but my kids finally see the benefit of dip.
As an added bonus, many soups are quite tasty for lunch the next day, when the light is much better for nice pics!
I don’t have an official recipe for this yet, as I need to work out a few measurments kinks, but this is a close approximation ::
:: A Close Approximation of An Apple Cider Soup Recipe ::
1/2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds (I used my food processor)
2 fennel bulbs sliced into 1″ cubes (1″-ish… fennel isn’t square)
2 TBS grated ginger
4 TBS olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 c hazelnut meal (or just toast, peel, and grind your own hazelnuts… OK that’s crazy.. also the amount might be closer to a cup… I have to test this out)
4 c chicken stock or water
3 c apple cider
2 TBS lemon juice
In the bottom of heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over med heat, add carrots, fennel, and ginger, and salt, and gently sweat until the carrots darken, and fennels softens, approximately 15 minutes. A touch of browning is fine. To this mixture add the hazelnut meal and toast for 5 minutes being careful to not allow the meal to scorch, then add the chicken stock and 1 cup of the apple cider. Bring heat to high until soup begins to boil, then lower heat to a slow simmer, covered for at least one hour, although the more time you allow this to slowly cook, the better the results. After an appropriate to your family amount of time (are the children biting your ankles? Time’s up!), transfer contents in small batches to a blender, cover with a towel you don’t really care about, and blend as long as is effective, returning all creamy, dreamy, carroty sludge to the pot for a bit more cooking. Add the remaining 2 c apple cider, and lemon juice, simmer for a few more minutes (or longer if you prefer) and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve in a nice white bowl, with croutons, apple-celery hash, and bacon. Add more bacon if you live with carnivores that complain when there isn’t enough meat. Drizzle a touch of Walnut Oil around the centered garnish. Do a little dance. Pro-tip :: This soup gets better with a nice long rest in the fridge! Pro-tip The Second :: Cut the bacon into small little strips and cook in a cast-iron pan low and slow-like. Pro-tip The Third :: This soup is “rustic” which is a fancy, hoitey-toitey way of saying NOT STRAINED. Strain if you’re fancy, or add more bacon.
1 Granny Smith Apple
2 stalks celery
Peel and chop apple into the smallest pieces you can stand. Same with the celery. Take the pan that fried the bacon, dump out the rendered fat, but don’t wipe, throw in the apples and celery with a bit of salt and pepper over med-low heat, let sit for a few minutes to brown up on one side (resist the urge to constantly move it around), toss a bit, repeat until apples are nicely brownish. Then toss it into the middle of your soup.
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