Sunday, February 21, 2010

How I love my comfort foods...

Nothing feels more like Sunday to me than a big helping of deliciousness. At our house, Sundays are all about food. Well, and football. And when football is over, NASCAR. But we really love to make up a big mess of food, share it with friends and neighbors, and enjoy the day!

Several weeks ago, while playing along with Mama M.'s 5QF, I mentioned Potato Soup. It's a favorite of mine, and we make huge pots full at least every other week. A few of you requested a recipe, and I'm going to do my best to give you one here. Here's the deal, though. As a general rule, when I cook, recipes are more... guidelines. Suggestions, if you will. So, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite hints and tips, and then I'm going to tell you this - EXPERIMENT! Don't be afraid to try something different. We all have different preferences for foods, especially with how they are seasoned, so don't feel tied down to anything you see here! (Well, except maybe the potato part. It's not really potato soup if you don't use potatoes.)

So start by peeling some potatoes! We typically use one per person, and when we know we want leftovers, throw in a couple extras. For this pot of soup, we used 6 large taters. And this 8 quart pot? About 2/3 - 3/4 full with water, which we then bring to a boil.

While I finished peeling the potatoes, and the water began to heat, Big Daddy worked on chopping celery and onion. 2-3 stalks of celery and 2 medium onions were used, and let me just tell you how important the leafy greens are from your celery! If you don't currently use those when you're cooking, you are missing out on a LOT of  flavor.
 

Chop fine, and toss into the pot of water. Also, cube your potatoes - roughly 3/4 inch pieces works well. You want slightly larger than bite size, because parts will break down a bit.




A little salt and pepper in the cook water, and allow to boil for 15 - 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. If you are cooking this with smaller kids in mind, you will likely use smaller pieces of potato. Adjust your cook time accordingly. You want them to be edible, but not to the mash stage. Once the potatoes are cooked, drain off the water. We prefer our soup to be thicker, so we retain the water, allowing the starch to settle in the bottom of a bowl. We then pour off most of the water, reserving about a cup to put back into the soup. The starch thickens without diluting the flavor.

Next we add butter.  This part - not calorie friendly. A stick of real butter is the way to go. You can use margarine, though. I won't tell. I add the butter to the potatoes and veggies, now back in the pot, which is off the heat for a minute. The potatoes are hot, which will start the melting process for the butter, but I want the temp down just a bit for some of these next steps. That temperature drops further when we add milk. We eyeball it - for our family of five, we use close to a half gallon of milk.
 

And now, a secret to rich, full flavor.

Eggs. Two. Beat them with a little more milk, and stir them into the now cooled soup base. (This is why you don't want that temperature up! You don't want scrambled eggs in your soup!)

 

Now you can bring your pot of deliciousness back up to temp! If you want to use that starch water, add it now, bring the pot back to a boil for a minute or two, and you're ready. This is ready to eat as-is, or you can add cheddar cheese, bacon, or other flavors to kick it up a bit. I have a fantastic coconut curry sauce that I add to my bowl. Big Daddy? All about the bacon. The kids love theirs with cheese.

So there it is! Tell me what you mix in with yours, won't you? I love to try something new.




4 comments:

  1. Oh, wow...seriously, Megan, that looks amazing!!!

    I need to try this...soon, talk about a great lenten meal for us!! Thanks! (And, fantastic food blogging btw!!!)

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  2. And.. it's vegetarian friendly! :)

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  3. My husband would love this! I am not a huge potato soup fan, and even I think it looks good.

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