With Fall nearly upon us, ’tis the season for apples. Just south of my location in North Carolina, in Hendersonville, they hold an Apple Festival every year. And so, every year, it reminds me to make one of my favorite time saving soups for those first chilly days of Autumn. In addition to apples, Fall also brings some cool weather vegetables back to our local tailgate markets. In addition to broccoli, cauliflower and a whole range of cabbages, one vegetable that is perfect for soups – kohlrabi – becomes available again. Just a few years ago most Americans had never heard of kohlrabi but now it is often seen in grocery stores. This delicate soup uses both apples and kohlrabi though you can substitute parsnip if kohlrabi cannot be found in your area.
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 kohlrabi, peeled and diced
3 medium carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and diced
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into small cubes
9 cups Chicken stock
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2/3 cup heavy cream (or half & half if you prefer)
1 teaspoon Agave syrup (or 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 handful of minced parsley (optional)
Heat the oil in a soup pot, add the diced vegetables (except apples) and cook over medium heat until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the Chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer over low heat about 40 to 45 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the apples. Add them to the soup and simmer an additional 15 minutes.
Stir flour and cream together in a measuring cup until smooth. Bring soup back to a boil then slowly add flour/cream mix using a whisk. (You can also add a ladle of hot soup liquid to the mix which will make it easier to pour as well as preventing the possibility of lumps.) Bring soup back to a boil for about 5 minutes, then add Agave (or sugar) and lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste the soup. It should have a nice sweet/sour taste. Add parsley just before serving.
Serve with warmed crunchy bread, perhaps with a goat cheese, or a not too sweet pumpkin bread, and you can also precede the soup with a Caesar salad and follow it with your favorite rice pudding or other desert to make a complete meal.
Several recipes for Apple Soup suggest serving it immediately but I have found that it reheats beautifully and that the flavors blend even more by next day. I have even frozen this soup without deleterious effects. Also, if I have no peppers or kohlrabi on hand, I have substituted cubed zucchini and parsnips but do try to find kohlrabi because it’s nutty, crunchy taste adds a lot to the soup. If you use half and half rather than cream, perhaps add a tablespoon of Sour Cream to each serving? Meat eaters might also like the addition of tiny (1 inch diameter) ground chicken or turkey meatballs.