Tomato Basil Cider Soup

This is for that time of year when you’re confused.

You know that time of year. There is still this abundance of beautiful, fresh, heirloom tomatoes and fragrant basil. The weather is still nice enough to sport capris and sandals. But you know it’s coming. You can feel it in the breeze, ever so slightly. And in the beverage world-you see it. The shelves begin to fill with pumpkin ales and oktoberfest. Do I cling desperately to the summer that I love so much or embrace all things fall?! (The answer is cling to summer. The hotter the better.)

Whether you use a typical hard cider, or Harpoon’s Pumpkin Cider like I did–this is that time of year in a bowl. Or a mug, whatevs. Bursting with summer freshness yet crisp with fall. While I tend to stay away from most ciders on the market because I find them cloyingly sweet, I really enjoyed this Pumpkin Cider because of the lower sugar content. Magner’s would also be a good choice for your confused summer fall soup.

Tomato Basil Cider Soup

Adapted from The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots (or estimated baby carrot equivalent), diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2-2 pounds tomatoes, chopped with juices reserved

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons minced basil

4 cups stock

1 1/2 cups hard cider (1 12 oz. bottle)

salt and pepper

basil to garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat with the butter and olive oil. Saute chopped onion and carrots until softened, 6-8 minutes and season them with salt and pepper. Add garlic cloves and saute an additional minute. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, the bay leaf and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then stir in stock and cider. Simmer 30 minutes and adjust seasonings. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a counter blender or food processor. Garnish with additional basil leaves.