It's really cold. Even here in California, we have been bundling up like eskimos and huddling around the heater with cups of tea. Also, I've been having crazy cravings for smoothies, which are oh so tasty, but um, a little chilly for this time of year? Maybe?
After a mango-pineapple-banana smoothie for breakfast, we were ready for something a little warmer for lunch. Like, oh, I don't know, creamy potato soup? with BACON? Because bacon makes everything better. seriously.
So lets get started!
*2/11/09 After making this soup a second time, I made a few changes to the recipe. Specifically, we thought the soup was a bit TOO creamy (is that actually possible? Apparently so!), so the second time we pureed 1/2 and mashed the other half. Yum!
Also, originally we put sour cream IN the soup, but the second time around we liked it alot better with just a dollop on top. Enjoy!
For this soup, you will need about a pound of these:
I used yellow Baby Dutch potatoes, but I think this soup would be tasty with other kinds of small thin-skinned potatoes, like Yukon Gold, White Creamer, or maybe even red potatoes? Just, whatever you do, don't use those generic Idaho spuds. Those skins are way too tough for soup. And you don't want your soup to taste like mashed potatoes. That would be weird.
You also need all of this:
That is, 2 cups of chicken broth, a few cloves of garlic, olive oil, an onion, butter and thyme. Also, you will need cream, and water. Also, bacon. But if you don't like bacon, or if you're a vegetarian, you can leave it out. (Sorry, no picture. I can't be taking pictures all the time.)
I have to be honest, this is kind of a little-of-this, little-of-that recipe. I don't really do a lot of measuring when I cook (except when I bake. You got to measure when you bake. seriously). I taste as I go along, and if it tastes good, I'm doing something right!
First step, put a 2-3 tbs of olive oil in soup pot. I like to use my iron enamel pot, but use whatever you got. Add 2-3 tbs of butter and melt on med-hi heat.
Peel and chop the onion and add it to the pot. Now the garlic - I LOVE garlic. I love a LOT of garlic. So I use 4-5 cloves. But if the thought of that much garlic makes you feel weak in the knees because you fear the dragon-breath, by all means use less. Pansy. No, I totally didn't say that. Just, you know, some of us are braver than others.
You have some options on how to deal with the garlic: I just got a new toy:
So I used it. It was really fun.
I pounded up the garlic with a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme.
It smelled AMAZING.
I love my new toy.
But if you don't have a mortar and pestle feel free to mince that garlic up with a knife. Or put it through a garlic press. Or beat it with a frying pan.
The options here are really endless.
So do something with that garlic and add it to the onions. Let the onions and the garlic saute until fragrant and golden.
Meanwhile, wash those potatoes (leave aside 2-3 for the garnish) and slice those babies up. And leave the skins on, they're tasty. And good for you. Now add those potatoes to the onions and fry them until they start to get golden and carmely. You don't have to worry about cooking them through, that comes later. Your potatoes should look something like this:
When those potatoes look golden and lovely, add 2 cups of chicken stock, and two cups of water. The liquid should just cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork. Yum.
So, while that's cooking, lets make the garnish!
Actually, it's NOT a garnish.
Garnish implies that it only exists for decorative purposes. This stuff is VITAL.
Don't skip. Really.
Remember those 2-3 potatoes we set aside at the beginning? we're going to use them now, so get those babies out and dice them up. Also, get out two pieces of bacon. Or more, you know, depending on how much you love bacon.
Now heat up a heavy bottomed skillet and fry those babies up. You want the bacon to be REALLY crispy. Or, you know, you could also go the cheater route and buy bacon bits. But REAL bacon tastes much better, I promise. Now when that bacon gets crispy and those potatoes are golden, pull the bacon out, dry it off with a paper towel, and chop it up into little bits. Get it, bits of bacon? Bacon bits?
Back to the soup.
Now that the potatoes are cooked, it's time to get this soup smooth. I, personally, only have a blender. Maybe you have a potato ricer or food mill. If you do, use that! I've heard it's great. Otherwise, use a blender, like me.
Put 1/2 of those potatoes in the blender and top with all broth from the pot. Now puree! If you like your soup REALLY smooth, pull out all the stop and puree until liquid. Now, the other 1/2 of the potatoes. Pull out a potato masher and mash them up. Simple, really.
Now add that puree back to the pot and mix it all up with the other potatoes. Add 1/4 cup cream. Also, add as much stock as you need to get it to the right consistency (hint: it should be the consistency of soup, not mashed potatoes).
It should look something like this:
And of course, now you should add some of this:
It seriously makes everything taste better. Seriously.
Now for the fun part. Top with a dollop of sour cream. Top that with the sauteed potatoes. Top THAT with BACON. So you get this:
Now eat that yummy stuff up. And feel warmer, this cold, cold February.