Matt Gurney's cider soup

A recipe that promises to seduce, whether the cook is man or woman.

Published January 4, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

3 quarts apple cider

1 quart vegetable stock

2 large Walla Walla or Vidalia onions thinly sliced in rings, then halved

2 stalks celery (cut in small, C-shaped pieces)

2 oz. dry sherry

1 small shallot (minced)

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. walnut butter (if unavailable, peanut or other nut butters will

3 bay leaves

2 full stems fresh rosemary

1 star anise (whole star)

salt & pepper to taste

1 loaf French bread, sliced and dried in a low oven to form croutons

1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated

Place butter in a large soup pot (at least 1 1/2 gallons) on a medium-high
burner. Add the sliced onions and caramelize them, stirring occasionally. This will take 20 minutes or so.

While waiting for the onions to caramelize:

Combine the veggie stock and the walnut butter with a hand whisk and set
aside. Place the rosemary, star anise and bay leaves into a piece of cheesecloth
and tie off. (If you dont have cheesecloth, dont sweat it. Just remember to
fish all that stuff out before you start serving the soup!)

Grate the cheese. (Drink some sherry ... eat some cheddar.)

Let the onions get a deep caramel color and then add the shallot and celery
and cook for another minute. Add the sherry and stir vigorously. Once the
sherry has evaporated, add the apple cider and the veggie stock/nut butter
combo. Bring the soup to a simmer (just under a boil) and leave it there
for at least 1 1/2 hours, until it is reduced in volume by one-third. (Come on,
you can wait that long.)

When the soup is done cooking add the salt and pepper to taste.

Serve in a warm bowl with a crouton in each, and top with grated cheddar.

By Maria Dolan

Seattle essayist Maria Dolan wrote "Learning to Love the Abyss" for Salon Wanderlust in December 1997. She is at work on a book about urban nature.

MORE FROM Maria Dolan

Related Topics ------------------------------------------