Friday, June 25, 2010

The Best Potato Soup

On a hot day like today, don’t you just crave a steaming bowl of potato soup!  Ha!  But I love potato soup.  I’ve never had one I didn’t like, other than out of a can.  (Sorry, Campbell’s, I just can’t get on board with the baked potato Chunky soups like I can the Chicken Corn Chowder or Split Pea with Ham.)  My mother-in-law makes a good potato soup that is entirely different from her sister’s, Jake’s Aunt Connie.  My mother made a good potato soup, sometimes out of leftover mashed potatoes.  And I love them all. 

However, we had some friends over last winter and I served them the potato soup I make.  It’s from a recipe my mom secreted from The Iowa Machine Shed restaurant years ago and published in my home church’s second cookbook.  Apparently these friends had not always had the pleasant experiences with potato soup that I’ve had.  I guess they were a bit wary, but willing to try my potato soup.  (They were too gracious to let me in on this until later, after they’d tried it.)  And unless they were lying their faces off, they liked it.  One of them even expressed that he thought it might be the best he’d ever had.  My husband readily agreed, which surprised me somewhat since I’d made it several times previously for him and he’d always liked it (it has bacon as an ingredient, which will pretty much secure a positive response from Jake) but he’d never before admitted to such a strong preference for it over others.  But I’m glad the reviews are such raves, because honestly, it’s kind of a lot of work and definitely requires many dishes to be washed after.  But I love it too.  And I’m willing to go to the work for the outcome.  Not just because others evidently like it so much too.  But because I do as well.  And I really cook mostly for me, I guess.  Though if that were entirely true, I’d cook with a lot more cheese!

Baked Potato Soup from The Iowa Machine Shed

2 ½ lbs. baby red potatoes, quartered                      
1 tsp salt*
½ lb. bacon, diced                                                      
1 tsp pepper
1 jumbo yellow onion, diced                                      
1 ½ sticks marg / butter
¼ bunch celery, diced (opt – Jake hates, so I leave out)
2 oz. chicken soup base                                             
¾ C flour
1 qt milk                                                                     
1 C whipping cream or Half & Half
¼ bunch parsley, chopped (I use parsley flakes)

Boil potatoes in 1 qt water for 10 min.  Set aside; do not drain.  In a large, heavy pot, sauté bacon, onions & celery over med-high heat until onions / celery are tender.   Drain bacon grease.  Add milk, potato water, chicken base, salt & pepper (*I hold off on the salt until the end because I think the bacon makes it plenty salty for me).  Heat over med-high heat until very hot.  DO NOT BOIL.  In a large, heavy saucepan, melt marg.  Add flour; mix well and allow to bubble, stirring for 1 min.  While stirring soup, constantly add the flour and marg mixture slowly.  (I use a nylon whisk to avoid flour mixture chunks.)  Continue stirring until soup is thick and creamy.  Stir in potatoes, parsley and cream or Half & Half.  Serve while hot.  Garnish with cheddar cheese, fried bacon bits and sliced green onions, as desired.

1 comment:

  1. Love a good potato soup. I usually do a cheesy potato soup which is actually one of my quick and easy go to meals but your recipe looks yummy. (Cream and 1/2 and 1/2 kind of have a tendancy to equate to deliciousness...)