Carrot Cider Soup

43 Comments

My husband and I were lucky enough to go to the restaurant Square One in San Francisco many years ago. And we were on expense account. There’s just something about that benefit that makes the dining experience even more wonderful!

The restaurant, owned by chef Joyce Goldstein, opened in 1984. According to an article I found online, Joyce Goldstein was “one of, if not the first, to explore Mediterranean food with her interpretations of specialties from Turkey, Italy, Greece, Morocco and other sun-washed countries.”

All I remember was that the menu was impressive and the food delicious. I unfortunately don’t remember any specifics of that night. I’m guessing our wine was plentiful, however, this dining experience was 30 years ago!

In 1992 Joyce Goldstein published the cookbook Back to Square One – Old-World Food in a New-World Kitchen.
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Recently I decided to peruse some older cookbooks of mine, and I immediately fell in love with Back to Square One again. There are so many recipes I want to try, like Balkan crab salad with walnuts and lemon mayonnaise. As well as recipes I want to make again, like Catalan-style quail stuffed in roasted peppers with olives.

This weekend we’re having our favorite people over to raclette` and I found a soup in the cookbook that will be perfect to begin our feast.

The actual name of Joyce Goldstein’s soup is French Apple Cider and Carrot Soup. It’s a carrot soup with the addition of hard cider. To make it a little more festive, I decided to top off the soup with a little creme fraiche and some julliened apples.

Unfortunately I’m not so good at presentation, but here is the recipe:
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French Apple Cider and Carrot Soup
Back to Square One

Serves 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup hard apple cider
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent and sweet, 10 to 15 minutes.
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Add the carrot chunks and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are very tender.

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Purée the soup in the blender or food processor, using only as much of the stock as necessary to purée the carrots.

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Transfer the purée to a clean saucepan and then add the apple cider, the cream, and as much of the remaining stock as necessary to think the soup to the desired consistency.

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I actually added the cider and cream while the soup was still in the blender jar.
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Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar or nutmeg if the soup needs sweetening.
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I added a small dollop of creme fraiche, and a few jullienned apples, plus freshly ground nutmeg, and also pink peppercorns.

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note: After making this soup with the uncooked hard cider, I have a few thoughts.
1. In spite of the low alcohol content, the flavor is too sharp and raw for the soup.
2. Perhaps the hard cider would work better after first a reduction of 50%.
3. Regular apple cider would work, but it should be added along with the chicken broth.
4. A splash of Calvados could add a little flavor, but I recommend adding it along with the chicken broth.
5. Including a cored apple or pear to the carrots would add a natural sweetness to the soup.

43 thoughts on “Carrot Cider Soup

  1. What a lovely simple soup. In regards to hard cider…I like it a lot, but I find they all taste different. There are some I like way more than others. My guess is that might have something to do with the taste. In any case, I think your suggestions are great and lloking through old cookbooks is always fun!

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  2. Good morning Chef Mimi – I love your blog and seeing that soup just made me hungry! Wanted to pop by and say thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe, I look forward to trying it soon!

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  3. I have that book. Goldstein’s gravlax recipe is the very best proportions of salt/sugar/booze I’ve ever used, in fact it’s the one I always use. I haven’t made much else from it but I’ll get it off the shelf today for another look. I think your soup presentation is beautiful.

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  4. I find soups the hardest to “present:! Ahhh, anything 1984 is dear to my heart. Thanks for this recipe and introduction to Chef Goldstein.

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  5. It’s so funny, Mimi, when I first saw this recipe title I thought, “I’m not a huge carrot soup fan.” Then, honestly, I saw your photo and thought, “I definitely need to make this recipe!” It looks so creamy and delicious. It just goes to show you that you need to keep an open mind when it comes to food… And, well, life in general.

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  6. This sounds really intreguing. There’s so much variety among ciders. I’m fond of them and have tried many. I would drink an Angry Orchard any day. But there are paler, more delicate ciders, like Strongbow, that might be interesting in a soup like this. And then there are others that are so sweet, or tart, or spicy, that the soup could go in different directions. It’d be interesting to taste the differences. Thanks for passing this along!

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