We are on the lookout for hearty soups that we can cook in bulk, freeze, and then enjoy on a cold night when we want something hot and fast. Here is another one of our favorites:
Celery, Carrot & Apple Soup
1/2 stick (1/4 c.) unsalted butter
1 lb. (5-5 1/2 c.) chopped celery
1 lb. (3 c.) chopped carrots
1 lb. (1 1/2 c.) peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped eating apples
5 c. Vegetable Stock
1 t. paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 T. chopped basil leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the celery, carrots, and apples, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionlaly, for 15 minutes.
2. Add the stock, paprika, cayenne pepper, basil leaves, bay leaf, and ginger. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until the vegetables and apples are very soft.
3. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, in batches, if necessary, until smooth (or use a stick blender). Strain the soup through a strainer back into the clean pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the soup and serve it in warmed bowls, garnished with chopped clelery leaves and a light sprinkling of paprika.
This soup has a nice blend of flavors that are perfect for the fall and winter. We served it as a main course in a simple meal after Christmas Eve a couple years ago and it was well received. We will be serving it tonight for a dinner with another couple as a precursor to crab as the main course.
One tip: We were a little generous with the ginger and it overpowered some of the other flavors, requiring us to puree some additional cooked carrots to counteract the effect.