Mary Anne here. The inspiration for this soup actually came to me in October when the hospital where I work ladled up a delicious blend of apples and fennel for “Food Day.” I wanted to recreate it precisely, but since fennel can be pricey in these parts, I opted to divine the soup with a blend of apples and creamy potatoes. This is one of those creations that actually gets better overnight as the apple/ginger flavor deepens while the other ingredients soften into a lovely base. It is incredibly thick, which is the way I prefer my potage, but you can certainly add a bit more stock to thin it and stretch the number of servings to 8.
To dress up the soup for company, I used some brie and sugar-glazed pecans leftover from Christmas, which proved to be the perfect complements. These additions are strictly optional, as the soup stands beautifully on its own and I’m certain if you have a chunk of cheddar or Jack cheese in your fridge, either would work just as well.
Apple and Potato Soup with Brie and Glazed Pecans
2 Tablespoons sweet butter – stock
2 tablespoons olive oil – stock
1 large Vidalia or sweet onion (about 1 lb.), chopped – $1.74
2 cloves garlic, minced – stock
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced – $0.19
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon – stock
½ Teaspoon ground cumin – stock
2 ½ lbs. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks – $3.77
4 apples (2 lbs. I used 2 Granny Smith and 2 Gala), peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks – $3.08
4 cups stock (I used vegetable, but chicken works well) – $2.50
For the garnish (optional):
¼ lb. Brie, rind removed and cut into small cubes – $1.95
1 cup pecans, broken – $1.99
2 Teaspoons butter – stock
2 Teaspoons packed brown sugar – stock
1 Teaspoon water
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $12.14
Total Per Garnished Serving: $2.23
1. In a large stockpot, melt the butter and heat the olive oil over medium flame. Add the chopped onion and sauté, stirring often until soft and translucent and just beginning to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, potatoes, and apples and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly. (The ginger will become quite fragrant.)
3. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Note: The stock will just barely cover the apple/potato mixture. Cover and cook at a simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes and apple are tender and a fork easily pierces their flesh.
4. Meanwhile, if opting for the fancy garnish, prepare the glazed pecans. Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan. Add the brown sugar and water, stirring well to combine. Toss in the pecans and cook, stirring very frequently, until the nuts release their scent, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
5. When the apples and potatoes are soft, transfer the soup, in batches, to the bowl of a food processor armed with the steel blade. Puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and correct the seasonings with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with the Brie chunks and candied pecans.