30 January 2011

My Mom's To-Die-For Potato Soup

My mom makes two things especially well - brownies and soups.

Her brownies aren't those fancy-schmancy brownies with cheesecake or peanut butter, just unbelievably good, down-home brownies.  The kind you just can't stop eating.  I think it's their simplicity that makes them so outstanding. 

And then there are her soups. Wow.  Where do I even begin? 

There is nothing on this earth like her homemade chicken and rice soup.  I've tried time and time again to replicate it and I just can't.  I think it might have something to do with that special "Mom love" she puts in it.  When I'm sick with a head cold or sore throat it's the only thing that I want to eat.  And yes, it does have special healing powers. 

I can, however, (semi-successfully) reproduce her To-Die-For Potato Soup.  This is one of those special soups she makes for people when they've just had a baby or when someone is sick or sad and just needs some love and comfort food.  She has been making this soup as long as I can remember and it never disappoints. 

Typically potato soups are really heavy and not figure friendly.  I have even eaten some that have reminded me more of mashed potatoes than a bowl of soup.  This is not one of those.  This truly is a soup.  One that can be left chunky or pureed until velvety smooth, depending on your preference.  It's also not laden with cream, butter and cheese.  Not that those things are bad, but sometimes we all need to cut back a little.  Another huge bonus - it can be made in the slow cooker.

Not sure where or who the recipe originally came from, but my mom has been making it for so long that I consider it hers.  Enjoy!

My Mom's To-Die-For Potato Soup
(my tweaks are in parentheses)

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 onions, chopped
3 – 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
5 - 6 cups water (6 c chicken stock)
~½ cup butter (1/4 cup butter)
4 chicken bouillon cubes (only 2 cubes)
1 can evaporated milk (lowfat 2% evap milk)

Combine all ingredients, except evaporated milk, in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring ingredients to a boil on the stove stop, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.

For a velvety smooth texture use an immersion blender to puree the soup (...my favorite way to serve it).

Add milk and heat through just before serving.

Or simply dump everything (except for the milk) in the slow cooker for 4-5 hours and let it do its thing.  Simply stir in the milk 10 - 15 minutes before serving.

Garnish ideas: thinly sliced scallions, a little grated cheese (gruyere or a really mature, sharp cheddar work really well), a couple of crispy bacon crumbles.  My mom occasionally stirs in shredded chicken if she has some leftover from another meal.  Basically she uses this soup to clean out her fridge.

A few parting thoughts about this soup:

1) If you aren't going to puree the soup only use 1, maybe 1 and a half, onions and chop the veggies much smaller and much more uniformly.

2) If the soup is to be served right after it's made only use 5 cups of liquid, but if it will sit overnight (or even just a few hours) in the fridge use closer to 6 cups

3)  All said and done, there really is no way to mess this soup up.  It turns out beautifully every time!


Kerry said...

Sounds great!

I might have to try that with EVOO.

Marquita said...

I would live off soup, have some at every meal, every day, if I had the time to make every last on that I love. This? This is dinner tomorrow night!

homuthmolly said...

Thanks Ella for this recipe.I love potato soup and will have to try this recipe.Sounds easy to make and delicious.Atleast now I can have it at home instead of having to order it at a restaurant!Thanks again for it.