By Tony de Luca

This recipe is a good example of my belief that, when it comes to cooking, all fresh seasonal produce is fair game for us to use in whatever manner we like. Creating a soup from apples may seem unusual, but during apple season, I love using the fruit in as many ways as possible.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks (white parts only)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup 35% cream
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup Calvados
2 Tbsp finely chopped herbs (such as tarragon, chives, or chervil)
1/2 lb blue cheese (such as Roquefort), cut into 6 to 8 even-sized slices

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. When the butter foams, add the leeks, onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, apples, potatoes and wine and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender (not a food processor) and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed-out pot and stir in the cream. Heat through over low heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Calvados.

To serve, ladle the soup into 6 to 8 large warm soup bowls and sprinkle each portion with herbs. Float a slice of blue cheese in each bowl.

From Simply in Season: 12 Months of Wine Country Cooking, by Tony de Luca, Whitecap Books Ltd., 2010. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

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