June 1, 2009

early summer baked potato soup

You'll be seeing a theme here, running the course of at least three meals (and I'm saving the best for last). A five-pound bag of organic potatoes, followed by a half-pound of garden potatoes from my mother (even better) made for a slew of frugal tuber dinners. 

It must be because I keep them on top of the fridge, where conditions fall in the warm, not cool, temperature range...but our potatoes grow eyes faster than you can imagine. No matter; I snapped off the eyes of the store-bought potatoes and got to chopping. 

(Can I point out the dough scraper here? Ryan thought it was a useless tool until I had him in the kitchen chopping onions. He was at a loss for how to get them quickly into the ready pan. I handed him the scraper, and at that moment, he realized just how important that one extra tool was. A small battle, yes, but I won him over to my side. Cue evil laughter.)
Last week when we needed a dinner before we both succumbed to hunger pangs, and I had baked potatoes on the brain but those would've taken way too long, I came up with a quick version of baked potato soup laced with heavy cream. 

Ryan and I told one of our friends about this soup, and when we got to the heavy cream part, she exclaimed, "You just keep heavy cream lying around the house!?!" Of course! Doesn't everyone? 



Well, we do. And of course, Ryan has said at least five times since I made this soup that every soup I make doesn't have to involve bacon... But I sorely disagree. For now, anyway. The bacon in the fridge needs using, and therefore we will have as much bacon as we can handle. And anyway, for a gal who spends most of her days living as a vegetarian, the bacon is a blessed onslaught of fatty gloriousness that cannot be denied. 

So there. 

Needless to say, this recipe starts with bacon--and finishes with bacon. 

Baked Potato Soup a la Amber

1/4 pound bacon (3-4 slices), cut into small pieces
1/2 medium red onion, diced
4 small-medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 stalks of celery plus leafage
1 quart chicken or veggie stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

For garnish:
shredded cheese
crisped bacon

In a Dutch oven or other heavy soup pot, brown the bacon until almost crispy. Add in the onions and cook for about 1 minute; add potatoes and cook for another couple of minutes. Finally, add the celery and cook all the veggies just until they begin to change color. Maybe 5-8 minutes, I believe.
Add the stock and bring to a boil; cover and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are just past fork-tender. 

Slowly stir in the heavy cream just before serving. Ladle hot soup into bowls and top with shredded cheese and crispy bacon. 

Believe me, you must use the bacon. The cream, and even the cheese, you can do without. But not the bacon. 


Ines said...

I love your blog -- especially the soup recipes. I've been promoting the virtues of summer soups to my partner, and he's almost won over (we live in England, so it's not all that hot here in the summer, anyway). Thanks for great recipes and fun posts.