In 3-quart saucepan cook shallots, onions and ginger in hot oil over medium heat until tender but not brown. Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and cider all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in rest of ingredients except cream and
vanilla. Return to boiling, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves. Cool slightly. Using blender, blend in batches. Return to saucepan and stir in vanilla and 1 C. of cream if desired. Heat through, but do not boil. Pour servings, swirl in additional cream if desired.
Yield: 8 servings