A creamy potato soup is a great first course to a larger meal and is perfect comfort food on a cold day. Focus on the quality of the ingredients and the soup's texture, and you'll enjoy a nurturing dish.
The Right Ingredients
Choosing the right kind of potatoes will make a big difference in how your creamy potato soup recipe turns out. It is best to choose waxy white boiling potatoes, or small waxy new potatoes. These are readily available in any supermarket or at your local farmer's market. Choosing to remove the skin is optional; leaving it on will give the soup a rustic country feel. Remember that the fiber in the potato is on the outside, so removing the skin removes the roughage.
Dairy is perhaps the most important ingredient, and your choice of dairy will alter the entire taste of the soup. Soup without dairy is mostly fat-free, but by adding animal products you add dimension as well as saturated fat. Many people choose to use heavy cream or whole milk for their soup. You can also choose to add cheese such as gruyere or cheddar. A small amount of shredded cheddar cheese will also serve to thicken the soup, requiring one to use far less heavy cream and flour.
Spices and other vegetables can also make a big difference. Start with a vegetable stock base, which adds flavor and color. Vegetable stock is readily available, but not all stock is created equal. Cheap stock tends to be filled with salt and dehydrated vegetables and is rather unhealthy and unsuitable for use. Higher-end stock is made from fresh vegetables and has low or no salt. To get the best results and determine your own salt amount, make your own vegetable stock.
Finally, the choice is yours to puree or keep the soup chunky. Many prefer to puree only a part of the soup. You can use an immersion or stick blender to accomplish this, or you can blend the soup in a food processor in small batches. Be careful, as the soup will be very hot.
Recipe for Creamy Potato Soup
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 tablespoon of light olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality butter
1 sweet white onion (such as Walla Walla or Maui)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, diced or chopped
½ bunch celery, chopped
Freshly crushed pepper to taste
Sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons of white flour
3 cups high-quality, low- or zero-salt vegetable stock
1 pound of white potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon of chile de arbol (chili pepper)
1 bay leaf
1 cup of whole or reduced-fat milk (not skim)
?" cup of cheddar cheese (optional)
½ teaspoon of cornstarch (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
Use a large cast iron pot or stock pot. Pour in the oil, and add in the butter. Over medium-high heat, stir in chopped onions, garlic and carrots. Saute for a minute or so, and then add in the celery. Continue to saute until the onions look partially clear. Add some salt, pepper and flour.
Allow the mixture to toast over medium heat for a bit, and then add in the vegetable stock. Toss in potatoes, chili pepper and a bay leaf. Allow the soup base to boil, and then reduce heat to low, stirring periodically.
Cover and let cook for about 25 minutes until the potatoes are soft. If you want to puree a part or all of the soup, this is a good time to do so.
Add the milk or cream to the soup, as well as the cheese. If needed, add some cornstarch to give added consistency. Also add thyme and more freshly crushed pepper.
Allow the soup to melt the cheese and incorporate all the dairy and spices. Test the soup for salt and spices, and add more if needed. You may want to add more dairy if you feel you want a creamier soup. Serve hot with a crusty baguette.
If you've ever tried to perfect your soup stock skills and have come up short, here are some suggestions and tips for making the most delicious stock you will ever taste. My recipes are only a guideline, so feel free to add your own herbs and vegetables to make a truly unique stock.
Pasta e fagioli is an Italian soup-stew. Save broken pasta (such as lasagna) and leftover beans to use in this pasta e fagioli recipe. It's thrifty, flavorful and versatile. It can be made from just about any kind of pasta and beans, and can be made vegetarian by omitting the bacon and using vegetable stock. Serve half the batch for dinner and freeze the other half for when you need a fast meal.