Somehow it is already the end of September (I think witchcraft is the only reasonable explanation). Kids have returned to school, the leaves are changing colours and apples are ripening. Christmas is beginning its inevitable march, consuming all in its path. Held back only by the bulwark that Halloween has become. Yet in the midst of all this chaos (Canadian) Thanksgiving manages to carve out its own little niche. It always seems to jump up on me, as it has again this year, being a little over a week away.
As we know, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the things we find most important in our lives: apples and cider! Since we all love cider and apples so much, why not make the whole feast with them! Well, that is exactly what I will help you do. We will begin with a starter (of course): an excellent apple, cheddar and cider soup.
Cider vs Juice vs “Cider”
Whenever I post a recipe here on yegcider, if it has cider it will be the alcoholic, hard cider (unless stated otherwise). Many recipes you might find online with cider will be referring to American style cider which is just pure juice from an apple. Apple juice is filtered juices from an apple. (If you are juicing an apple and not making it into booze, whats the point?) Most places in the world, cider is an alcoholic beverage. For more information, watch the educational video below.
One thing I would like everyone to consider is adjusting recipes to their personal taste. This recipe is an excellent one to try with because you can get very different flavours with a few different changes.
I personally liked the definite taste of a semi dry cider in the soup, however that may not be for everyone. If you are looking for a sweeter soup, try using a sweeter cider. Same with the apples. I used Gala apples cause that is what I had, but you could use a wide range of different apples for different tastes.
You could also add more flavours from herbs like fresh thyme and/or a bay leaf. With garlic, I almost always use more than is suggested. If you do not like as much garlic, maybe only use two.
I like to use recipes more for ideas and as a guideline for cooking, however, that is not for everyone. Experiment if you are comfortable doing so, or follow the recipe exactly. The important thing is to enjoy cooking and eating it.
A Thanksgiving Starter
Apple, Cheddar and Cider Soup
A creamy autumn soup, full of complex flavours. Sweetness of apples, creaminess of cheddar and cream, and dryness of the hard cider.
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 1 Sweet Potato (about 2 cups)
- 2 Apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
- 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 2 ½ Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Cups Semi-dry Apple Cider
- 1 Cup Whipping Cream
- 2+ Cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
In a large pot, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Over medium-high heat, add in the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds. Add the yellow onion, sweet potato, and apples. Saute until softened. Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and stir till the flour incorporated.
Add in the chicken stock, cream, and cider. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 10 mins. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
Slowly add the cheese. Stir to melt the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Optional. This soup is excellent for additions after its completed. Try adding some extra cream on top, pumpkin seeds, fried shallots, or some nice crispy prosciutto, pancetta or bacon.
*Note. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender. You will most likely have to do it in batches. If you love making soup, I would suggest getting one. They are really handy. (I have this one, though I got it in a pack for culinary school so I never did any shopping around)
Want more apple recipes? Check out The Sober Apple!