It’s that time of year…the beginning of soup season. Or autumn to normal people. And as it happens, it’s also apple season. See the connection I made there? Nothing gets by The Goddess. This seemed like a marriage made in heaven. And it is! Tomatoes are called “love apples”, aren’t they? So why not combine the two. This is quick to prepare, delicious and just seems to hit the spot when the damp, chill sets in. It’s really pretty perfect anytime of the year. To be honest, this is really just my go-to Simply Tomato Soup (with Options), with some wing-dings thrown in! See, when I reached for the apples, I remembered I also have fennel bulb. So, of course, it made perfect sense to add some. If you wish, feel free to replace the broth with an equal amount of additional apple cider (4 cups total) instead…but, it may be quite sweet. The Dijon mustard I used is from Trader Joe’s®; a Roquefort Dijon mustard…it’s to die for and it was delicious, but normally I just use whatever I have open. I added heavy cream, but I was a bit short…it was still good. And it’s darn fine, without any cream. I’ve never added coconut milk, but I see no reason why you couldn’t…if I decided to go that route, I would add a little curry powder and cumin…hmmm…okay…that’s next time!
So here’s the soup—A pot, butter, heat, the fennel and onion. Over low heat, “sweat” the veggies…we’re looking for softness, rather than browning, so low heat and a cover on the pot. This takes 8 or 10 minutes; give it a stir now and again. Add the garlic, apples, cider, bay leaf, paprika, tomato paste, guajillo powder, white wine, and apple cider. Give it a stir, turn the heat to medium high and reduce the mixture by about half. I do slightly more than a third, but not quite half. If you go too far, just add some water or broth to correct the amount. Add the broth.And the tomatoes with their juice. You might want to break them up a bit. To be honest, I used a container of strained tomatoes. The container holds 35 ounces, so you’ll have a bit more. Bonus!!! Simmer that for 15-20 minutes, then slide your immersion blender into the pot and whirl away. Be careful, lest you end up in urgent care with a nasty burn. If you use the blender (I never use the food processor for soup), don’t over-fill it…half full…no more. So you’ll need to do this in batches, with the blender. Or leave it chunky…it’s up to you. You can stop here, put it in the fridge and finish it the next day (way better flavor!) or let it set on the stove (no heat) for a couple of hours. When you’re ready to serve, add the heavy cream and the mustard. Reheat the soup gently. Boiling can curdle the cream and turn the mustard a bit bitter…not a good scene. Anyway, you want to be able to eat it before next Tuesday! Make certain to taste…you may need some salt or even a bit of lemon juice to make the flavors pop. We’ve talked about this before…acid or salt or both, make flavors come alive! Serve with grilled cheese, cheese or maybe cheese…bleu cheese is a fabulous choice! And of course, good bread! Have a terrific week….
Johnny Appleseed Tomato Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1/3-1/2 cup diced fresh fennel bulb
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2-3 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (see NOTE)
- 2 cups unsweetened apple cider
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (either smoked or non-smoked)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon guajilllo chile powder (or “heat” of choice)
- 2 cups veggie or chicken broth (or additional apple cider)
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (see NOTE)
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used Trader Joe’s® with Roquefort)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Apple jelly, honey or apple cider syrup, for garnish, if desired
- Aleppo pepper flakes or coarsely ground black pepper, for garnish if desired
In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot (such as a Dutch oven), heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel; lower the heat and sweat until pale and tender, about eight to ten minutes. We’re not trying to brown them. Add the apples, garlic, cider, wine, tomato paste, paprika and chile powder. Bring to a boil, lower the heat slightly, and cook until the liquid is reduced by one-third to one-half. Add the tomatoes and broth. Return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. I like to do this a few hours ahead, and let the pot stand (off the heat source) at room temperature until I’m ready to serve. Puree (I use an immersion blender, but you can use a standard blender–don’t over fill it, please). Add the mustard and heavy cream. Reheat the soup gently; season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with grilled cheese or some great bread!
NOTE: I use a mixture of apples; I usually use a Golden Delicious, a Jonathan or Cortland, and a Fuji or Macintosh. If the apples are large, use only two. You may use passata, or strained tomatoes, instead of the whole tomatoes. The amount may differ, anywhere from 28-35 ounces, depending on the size of the container. This recipe is quite flexible.
Johnny Appleseed Tomato Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.