A classic savoury-sweet combination is celery and apple. It often turns up in stuffings. A rarer use of them together is in this Apple and Celery Soup–but it is not a new idea. Eliza Acton has a similar recipe in her book Modern Cooking for Private Families reduced to a system of easy practice (1845). She called her version “Soupe a la Bourguignon”, believing it to be of French origin. Over a century later, another Englishwoman, Jane Grigson, who wrote long and well on the subject of English food, traced the antecedents of Apple Soup to a 15th century manuscript in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. And the version from which Apple and Celery Soup derives comes from an English authority on French cooking, Dione Lucas…with a change or two.
Tracing the origins of dishes can be interesting, but, as Mrs. Grigson aptly observed: “No cooking belongs exclusively to its country or its region. Cooks borrow–and always have borrowed–and adapt through the centuries.”
Apple and Celery Soup with Sauteed Apple Rings (for 6 people as a Soup Course)
Ingredients for the Soup:
- 3 Tablespoons of butter
- 1 Tablespoon of sunflower oil
- 3 branches of celery, cut in pieces
- 1 onion, cut into slices
- 3 carrots, cut in slices
- 8 apples, cut in slices–and neither peeled nor cored: 2 additional apples are used for the Garnish
- 6 cups of chicken bouillon or 6 cups of water and 2 bouillon cubes
- 1/8 cup of Demi-glace: See the diplomatickitchen’s recipe for Sonoran Pork Roast which includes a section on the topic of Demi-glace with a suggestion for a quick version of this ingredient and a link to a recipe for making the longer version
- 2 teaspoons of mild curry powder, such as a Madras curry blend
- fresh ground white pepper and salt
Ingredients and directions for making the suggested Garnish of Sauteed Apple Rings and Green Onion Curls are given in separate sections below, after the Soup recipe.
Equipment for the Soup:
- a food mill or a large strainer and wooden spoon: a blender or food processor alone won’t create the fine texture of this soup
- a large heavy pot or Dutch oven
- a large bowl
1. In the heavy pot, heat the butter and oil. Add the celery, onion, and carrots and cook them slowly for several minutes.
2. Add the apples to the pot and cook them with the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften but not brown.
3. Add the bouillon (or water and bouillon cubes), the demi-glace, and a few grinds of salt and white pepper and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, partially covered, until the apples are soft.
4. Transfer the soup to a large bowl. Pass it through a food mill back into the large pot in which it was cooked or pass the soup through a large strainer back into the pot, using the wooden spoon to press down on the solids and force them through the wire mesh of the strainer.
5. Add the curry powder and reheat the soup slowly. Add additional salt, pepper, or curry if they benefit the flavour or, if the soup is made a day in advance, let the flavours develop overnight before adjusting the seasoning.
6. Divide the soup among the bowls. Add a Sauteed Apple Ring to each bowl and a sprinkling of Green Onion Curls, if you have decided to use them to garnish the soup.
Sauteed Apple Rings
- 2 apples, unpeeled, cut into rings: a total of 6 rings–one for each soup bowl
- Rice flour
- 2 or 3 Tablespoons of Sunflower Oil
- a very small canape or cookie cutter: it isn’t essential, but the slices will look nice when a shape cutter is used to core them
1. Cut the apples into rings without peeling them. Use a small shape cutter to remove the cores:
2. Heat the sunflower oil in a flat-bottomed pan. Lightly dust the apple rings with rice flour, brown them, drain them, and set them aside to place in the bowls of soup just before serving.
Green Onion Curls
- 2 or 3 green onions
- a small bowl of ice water
- a cotton towel
1. Cut the green parts of a couple of the onions lengthwise into thin strips:
2. Put them in a bowl of ice water for a minute. They will begin to curl in the water:
3. After a minute or two, spread the curls on a cotton towel to dry:
4. The onion strips will continue to curl as they dry. Set them aside to sprinkle on the bowls of soup:
Note: Apple and Celery Soup with Sauteed Apple Rings is the First Course in the Lunch Menu: Simply Delicious Combinations.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012