Friday, February 19, 2010

the best potato soup you might ever eat

I've made potato soups before that have ended up more like soggy mashed potatoes.  But this time I got it right!  Justin said this soup was one of the best meals I've hooray!  The secret is knowing when to stop boiling the potatoes.  It's also best to add the liquid ingredients shortly before serving it -- don't simmer for long -- because the potatoes are like sponges and sop up anything they're offered.

As for the taste - oh the taste - parsnips are the secret ingredient.  If you haven't used them before, you can get them at Hy-Vee or Open Harvest, and they look like fat white waxy carrots. :)  Peel them lengthwise as you would a carrot or potato.

basic ingredients
3 russet potatoes, peeled & chopped into large 2" chunks
2 parsnips, peeled & chopped into smaller 1/2" pieces
1-2 cups frozen corn
2-4 cloves fresh minced garlic
1/2 tube lean pork sausage
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk

to taste/optional
one glug of extra virgin olive oil
2-4 tsp oregano
2-4 tsp thyme
1-2 tsp smoky pepper powder (like chipotle)
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup half & half
1/4 stick butter
sour cream for 'garnish'

Put the parsnips, potatoes, olive oil and garlic in a pot on the stove, in just enough water to cover all the pieces.  Cook over medium/high heat until cooked through, adding more water if needed. (I always put the fresh garlic right in there with the potatoes whenever I cook them for any reason...the garlic cooks through, seeps into them and gives a mellow, sweet flavor.) You do not want the potatoes to be mush, but they should break up easily when poked.  Meanwhile fry up the sausage in another pan and drain the grease and pat dry.

When the potatoes and parsnips are done, drain most of the water off.  Reduce heat to medium/low and smush up the larger pieces of potato. Now I didn't say mash...I said smush.  This is not mashed potatoes, it's supposed to be soup. You still want chunks in there. Then add all the rest of the ingredients, putting dairy in last (if you're using it).  Add a dollop of sour cream on top when you've ladled it into bowls.

And like I said, the potatoes will really absorb most of the liquid over time.  Add the majority of the liquid near the end, so the soup is soup. And less like mashed potatoes. I don't mean to give mashed potatoes a bad rap here, because I do love them. But not when I want soup.

If you have leftovers the next day, despite all your efforts, it probably will look like mashed potatoes. Foiled again, Batman!  But you can still win.  Just add a bit more chicken stock or milk to transform it back into soup. It won't be quite the same as Day One, but hopefully no one will notice because it tastes SO GOOD.

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