Potato Soup

by Elizabeth Dengler, The Huckleberry Home

It’s cold out and that means SOUP’S ON! I’ve always enjoyed potato soup, but never ventured into making it myself. I first had it in college in Missouri, it was a student favorite. And since I’ve been taking on trying new recipes and altering them to my liking I wanted to give this soup a go. I was discussing with my husband about the ingredients I use and was curious if I should start including them in my recipes. The reason why my food turns out so yummy has to do with the quality of the ingredients I use. It really makes a difference. I’m also one who likes to make life easier in the kitchen, especially when I was working in the corporate world. Coming home after being away for almost 10 hours, anything that would save me time in getting a home cooked meal to the table was a godsend. I’ve yet to try out the shortcut I have in mind for this soup as it struck me after I made it. I was in Rosauer’s frozen veggie section and noticed Mr. Dell’s Southern Style Hash Browns aka Diced Potatoes. The only ingredient is potatoes. This would save time scrubbing and dicing if you wanted a quick remedy to processing your own potatoes. Another time saver is precooked bacon. If you go this route, or if bacon just isn’t your thing, start out with 4 Tablespoons of butter as a substitute for the bacon grease. I appreciate a good shortcut but not at the cost of flavor or nutrients so sometimes I’m a little picky about what I keep in my pantry or on hand in the freezer. What are some of your go-to shortcuts? Do you have a favorite easy week night meal? Email me for a chance to have your recipe printed: elizabeth@huckleberrypress.com

8 slices of bacon chopped, I use Hill’s hardwood smoked
1 medium sweet onion diced
2 small stalks of celery diced
1 small carrot diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
4 cups (32 oz) chicken broth (unsalted)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
3 pounds of potatoes cleaned and diced to 1 inch size cubes (I use gold potatoes and I do not peel them, if you use a russet, you will need to peel them)
1 teaspoon salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, I use Tilamook sharp white cheddar and garnish with Tilamook medium yellow cheddar
Optional Toppings:
green onion
diced crispy bacon
shredded cheese
sour cream
cubed ham
sliced brats

Add the bacon (or butter if you are skipping bacon) to a large dutch oven or stock pot and cook over medium high heat until the bacon is crispy. Remove the bacon with slotted spoon and drain on some paper towels. Do NOT drain grease from the pot, leave it there. Turn heat to medium.

Add the diced onion, celery and carrot to your bacon grease and sauté until soft and onions are translucent. Add the minced garlic at the end so as not to burn it.

Add your cornstarch to 1/2 C of your chicken broth to make a slurry. Slowly stir the corn starch slurry into your veggies and allow to cook for about 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the remaining chicken stock, milk and cream. Add in your diced potatoes, salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine.

Cook on medium low until the potatoes are soft and fork tender. This takes about 30 minutes depending on the type of potato you use and how small you’ve diced them.

Once potatoes are cooked, turn heat off. Carefully remove half the soup (I use a ladle and large Pyrex measuring cup) and place in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Or you can use an immersion blender in your pot. Do not blend the entire pot of soup unless you don’t want any potato chunks. Return soup to the pot after blending.

With the heat still off, stir in the sour cream and shredded cheese. Return the bacon to the soup. Stir to combine.

Ladle into some large bowls with any additional toppings of your choice. I like to serve this with a hunk of wam sourdough bread and a side salad.

When I heat up leftovers it can be pretty thick so I add a little chicken stock to thin it a bit and I always heat it up on the stovetop not the microwave.