Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Potato Soup - Tweaking it til it's right.

I have been making the same potato soup recipe for years now, ever since Tim's Aunt Lois gave me her recipe. And pot after pot, we have enjoyed it's warmth on cold fall and winter nights. But a few months ago, after having my brother in laws homemade version of his own soup, I wanted to make mine a bit richer, a bit more full of flavor, and I think tonight I finally accomplished it.

Not many ingredients to make a great pot of potato soup
from scratch. Easy and so flavorful. If you don't have a leek,
use an onion, and you can substitute milk for the cream.
And bacon is optional, I love bacon, so it's a must for me.

The original recipe calls for just boiling the potatoes, which works
if you are on a time limit, but tonight was the first time I baked
the potatoes and it made a big difference in the flavor.

If this is your first time using leeks, they really need to be
soaked, as they tend to bit gritty with soil deposits, and
just putting them in cold water for about 5 mins will get
them clean, just remember not to pour the bowl out
through a strainer, or the debrise will just be re=depoisted
onto the leeks in the process, I scoop mine out of the
water with a wire Chinese strainer.
To help cool off the potatoes quicker, cut in half and let
cool until not too hot to handle. Scoop out all the insides
with a spoon or as I do, use a melon baller.

While I was scooping out the potatoes, I was also browing
the bacon, which I had cut up into pieces for easier browning.

After the bacon had brown, I added about 4 tbsp of
butter, and when it melted, then added the cleaned and
drained leeks, over medium heat, stirring so they don't
burn, until leeks were softened, about 10 minutes.
I used a 5lb bag of russet potatoes, and after removing
them from their skins, was left with a full dinner sized
plate of them to go into the pot.
I used only a few spices and flavor add ons. Salt and peper,
basil, marjoram and Franks redhot sauce. I add these into
the bacon and leeks before the potatoes, and let mingle
for a few minutes before adding the potatoes.
Add the potatoes into the pot, stir with wooden spoon
to completely cover with all the flavors and then using
a potato masher, rough mash the potatoes.

Only mash some of the potatoes, as this will be what helps
to thicken the soup after you add the cream, but leaving some
bigger chucks will allow the soup to have more texture, and
be less like mashed potato soup,

Add the full container of cream, and then re-season to taste.
I will also add celery salt at this time to add a bit more
depth to the flavor. Be very careful to just heat through
and simmer slightly until just thickened, about 15 mins or
so, as if you let it go any longer, it will thicken, and the
cream will evaporate, leaving you with mashed potatoes.
I love having this soup with biscuits, to dip, and my
favorites are the country biscuits by Pillsbury.

Dinner is served. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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