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Apple Cheddar Soup

*bouquet garni:
1 TB white peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves (tied together in cheesecloth)
1/4 c peanut oil
3 oz leftover ham cubed
1 stalk celery diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 onions diced
8 tart apples peel, core and quarter (Granny Smith)
1 c white port or Chardonnay
6 c chicken broth
4 slices bacon for garnish
1 small red apple for garnish
1 small tart green apple for garnish
Juice from one lemon
4 TB unsalted butter softened
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese grated
Salt to taste
Tabasco to taste

A great cold weather soup, diced apples and cheese make it
colorful. Easily made without the ham or bacon. Use
vegetable broth instead of the chicken stock.

To make the soup, in a medium-sized saucepan heat the
oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham scraps, if
using, the celery, garlic, and onions and sauté for
about 4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent
but not brown.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the quartered
apples. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about
10 minutes or until the apples soften. Add the port
and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add the chicken stock,
bouquet garni, and ham. Reduce the heat
to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 20
minutes, or until the flavors are well blended. Remove
the bouquet garni.

Meanwhile in a small skillet, fry the bacon over
medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until browned and
crisp. Drain on paper towels. Cut into l inch dice and
set aside.

Leaving the skin on, cut the green and red apples into
1/8-inch dice to use for garnish. You will need about
2 tablespoons of each color. Put the diced apples in a
small glass or ceramic bowl and sprinkle with 1
tablespoon of the lemon juice. Set aside.

In a small bowl, knead the softened butter and flour
together until smooth to make a beurre manie. Whisk
the mixture into the soup to thicken it. Cook for 5
minutes longer, stirring frequently.

Add the grated cheese to the soup, stirring
constantly, until it is melted.

Strain the soup through a fine sieve into the top of
double boiler set over gently boiling water to keep
the soup hot. (Do not press too hard on the solids.)
season with the remaining lemon juice and salt and
Tabasco to taste. Ladle the soup into warm serving
bowls and garnish with the diced apples and chopped
bacon. Serve hot.

This soup is kind of a pain to make but it is fabulous, I put the pieces of
ham back in after straining because it seems like a waste to throw it


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