January is National Soup Month, and I love doing the heavy lifting of bringing home an array of wonderful soups to Nancie’s Table. (Kidding — it’s easy and fun to share soup and more with you here).This unique and ridiculously delicious one comes from my friend Perre Coleman Magness, whose blog “The Runaway Spoon” I have been following with pleasure for nearly ten years.
Perre’s focus is Southern cooking with a twist, and intriguing flavors and dishes from her extensive travels. I love her first book, “The Pimento Cheese Cookbook”, practical and packed with wildly tasty ways to enjoy this precious homegrown treat, but I can hardly wait for her new one, coming next week. It’s “The Southern Sympathy Cookbook”, and since Perre wrote it, i know I will laugh out loud, snort, think, learn, and get so hungry I have to put it down and cook her food. We’ll take a look at this new book later this month when it debuts in bookstores everywhere.
To pass the time, here is her latest inspiration, which I love. It’s brie and apple soup, made by cooking onion celery and green apple in butter and then simmering it all to tender tastiness in chicken stock and melting luscious brie or camembert in at the end. A food processor or blender finishes the work.
Perre suggests straining the finished soup but my batch didn’t need this step. Super smooth, serenely creamy. Just right. I chopped up a little remaining granny smith apple with some parsley to add a little color and crunch to each bowl..
After a great supper, we still had plenty for more meals. Take to work, bowl for my at-home free-lancer’s lunch, anchor supper with big bowls of soup, hammy sandwiches, and an arugula salad with raisins and pinenuts . Make enough that you can give some of this soup away, because it will make people happy and they will want to return the favor in one way or another…
- 8 ounce wheel camembert or brie
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 tart green apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon marjoram leaves
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup apple juice or cider, such as honeycrisp
- Remove the camembert from its packaging and cut away as much of the rind as possible. You don’t have to be too meticulous, just remove the thickest parts.
- Cut the cheese into cubes and set aside. It is easier to do all this while the cheese is cold and firm, but you want it to come closer to room temperature before adding it to the soup.
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the chopped celery, apple and onion and stir to coat.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until everything is soft and the apples are beginning to break down. Try not to let anything brown.
- Sprinkle over the marjoram leaves and a generous pinch of salt and cook for a few more minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in the broth and the apple juice and stir to combine.
- Raise the heat and bring to a boil, then cover the pot, lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes, until everything is completely tender.
- Stir in the camembert, a little at a time, stirring until each addition is melted before adding the next.
- Leave the soup to cool for 10 – 15 minutes, then transfer to blender and puree until smooth.
- Be careful if the soup is still hot, vent the blender lid and hold it down with a tea towel. You may need to do this in two batches.
- Blend until completely smooth.
- Wipe out the pot to remove any stray pieces, then pour the soup through a strainer back into the pot.
- Heat through on low heat season to taste and serve