Mar 6, 2009

Hearty Potato Soup


The simplest things in life are often the best. Which is precisely why this soup really needs no introduction. Not a long introduction, that is. Potato soup is one of the most simple, yet comforting and hearty soups out there. It’s also a versatile soup; you can make it taste different every single time by adding varying ingredients such as: leeks, celery, thyme or even rosemary. You can also try different cheeses to get different results.

It’s no fancy soup; if anything, it’s as basic as it gets. The soup is made with only a small handful of ingredients—mainly ingredients most people keep in their fridge/pantry anyway. But it’s so tasty and comforting that I’ve labeled it ‘favorite soup’ from the very first time I ate it.



6 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp mustard powder
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated cheese

Garnish:crumbled bacon
fresh parsley



Whoever said the ‘Holy Trinity’ in cooking is onions, garlic and celery, clearly never tried substituting celery for potatoes. It’s divine. Peel, wash and dice 6 medium potatoes. Starchy potatoes really do work best.


Finely chop 2 medium-sized onions.


Finely mince or grate two fairly large garlic cloves.


Measure 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. We’ll be making a roux.


Heat two tbsp of butter and cook the onions and garlic, over low heat, for about 5 minutes. Until the onions turn slightly translucent. Do not let the onions brown; it just doesn’t look good in a white soup.


Add 1/2 tsp mustard powder and 1/4 cup of flour to the onions. Cook for a minute to neutralize the rawness of the flour. Keep stirring.


I like my potato soup really thick. If you prefer a thinner soup; up the chicken broth with 1 or 2 cups. Add the potatoes to the onions and pour in the broth. Cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes; until very, very tender.


Once the potatoes are done, mash them. It really works best if you mash them a little before using a hand-mixer.


You can transfer everything to a food processor -even your blender will do the trick- but using a hand-mixer is much easier. No matter how you do it, just mix until you have a lump-free soup. Unless you like lumpy soups, of course, then don’t let me stop you.


The next two steps are completely optional. I’m not pressuring you in any way to add fattening ingredients to your soup. But, oh boy, it sure tastes good!

Pour in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Hmmmmm 1/4 cup really isn’t that bad, is it?


Add 1/2 cup grated cheese. I’ve used aged Gouda cheese, but just add whatever cheese makes your heart go pitter-patter. Many cheeses work with this soup: sharp cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan.


Keep stirring until the cheese melts and blends in with the soup entirely.


Season the soup with salt, pepper and optionally some freshly grated nutmeg to taste. The nutmeg is really a Dutch thing, I know; we add nutmeg to almost anything. Pity us.


Garnish with a little crumbled bacon, some fresh parsley and freshly cracked black pepper. Now this is my kinda lunch. Or dinner. Or breakfast. Or snack. Or…