Sunday, January 12, 2014

RECIPE: POTATO SOUP (Beyond Basic)

Potato soup is one of those versatile recipes.  You can add just about anything you have left over in your fridge to create a unique meal.  You can add other veggies such as corn, peas, and broccoli.  Additions of meats such as bacon crumbs, sausage, diced ham, browned ground beef, tiny meatballs, chicken, fish, or clams.  Add chicken, potato gnocchi dumplings and kale, for an even greater variety of taste.  Omit the carrots and sweet potatoes for a very white based potato soup.  

Ingredients

1 Medium Sweet Onion (Diced)
4 Stalks of Celery (Chopped)
1 Tbsp Butter

4 to 5 Large Potatoes (we used Russet) Peeled and Cubed in bite sized pieces
3 Carrots Chopped
1 Sweet Potato Peeled and Cubed in bite sized pieces
1 Tbsp Dried Cilantro Flakes
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Water


1/2 Stick Butter  (The real stuff)
2 Cups Milk
1/2 Cup Heavy cream

Salt and Pepper to taste


While you are dicing up the potatoes, saute the onion and celery in 1 Tbsp Butter. Saute until the celery is just soft.  Otherwise if you cook the celery with the potatoes, without sauteing them first, the celery rarely will be all the way cooked.

In a large deep pot place the diced Potatoes, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Cilantro Flakes, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp Garlic Powder, and the sauteed onion/celery mixture.  Add enough water to just cover all.  Bring to a simmering boil using no lid.  Keep just simmering.  Gently stir often until the potatoes and carrots are just tender. (About 20 minutes), but keep testing.

Do not drain off the water.  The water becomes part of the soup stock.

Turn heat down.  You don't want to simmer or boil once you add the milk and cream or they will curdle.  So once you have lowered the heat and the water is not boiling or simmering, add the 1/2 stick of butter.  Stir slowly and gently until all of the butter is melted.  Next add (while stirring) the milk and heavy cream.

Salt and pepper to taste.  Bear in mind you already placed 1 tsp of salt in the water.  But with potatoes they do absorb salt so more will be needed.   At this point your soup is ready to serve.  It will not be real thick.  This is a more thin soup stock.  The water cooked with the potatoes does naturally provide a slightly thicker texture once the milk and cream are blended in.

Variations (Using pre-cooked items-added when the milk and cream is added)

Add cubed or shredded Chicken

Pre-steam Broccoli until tender, then add at the same time as the milk is added. Cooking Broccoli or other dark green veggies with the potatoes, will turn your soup green.

Cheddar or Velveeta cheese could be added also.

For a different texture the soup could be run through a blender too.

For Fish or Clam Chowder, thicken the soup with flour and add cooked white fish such as Cod, or canned clams that have been rinsed and drained.  (Note on thickening with flour.  Whisk 3 Tbls of Flour with the cold milk.  Use the same method used for thickening gravy without creating lumps.  Don't add the cold milk to the hot liquid or the flour will create little cooked dough balls.  After whisking your cold milk and flour together in a large metal bowl slowly add hot soup liquid to the milk/flour mixture while constantly whisking.  Once your bowl mixture has become hot from adding the soup base, it should start to thicken.  Slowly add it back to the soup pot potatoes while stirring.  Do not simmer or boil once the milk has been added.




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