Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Potato Soup Recipe with a Little History

Back in high school, I used to eat potato soup at the Lincoln Del in Minneapolis with my aunt Mary Jo. It was thick and creamy, and we’d top it with cheddar cheese and popcorn. Sadly the Lincoln Del closed years ago - another one of my favorite Minneapolis restaurant dishes lost to the ages. Harumph!

Well, fast forward several years, and I met Andrew who was always raving about his dad’s potato soup that they eat every year for Christmas. His dad has been making this soup for decades dating back to before Andrew was born. I love to imagine Andrew’s dad bobbling around his kitchen in Manhattan thirty years ago making this recipe, all the kitchens in the houses they’ve lived in over the years, and now this year in our kitchen in Santa Fe. The recipe has traveled the U.S. pretty well over the years.

This recipe for potato soup is a little more sophisticated than the Lincoln Del’s – no beer, no cheddar cheese, no popcorn topping – but it DOES have history and stories.

Another good use for the immersion blender!

Potato Soup

6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into strips to form lardons
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 leek, white parts only, thoroughly washed and chopped
1/2 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound cabbage, chopped
1 pound red potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups veggie or chicken stock
1 cup shredded gruyère cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dill (1 Tbs, fresh or 1.5 Tsp dry)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, cook lardons over low heat until cooked through (not crisp) about 10 minutes. Add onion, leek, carrot and cabbage and saute for about 5-7 minutes. Add potatoes and the stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes on low flame. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend until smooth. Slowly add cheese, stirring frequently until melted. Add heavy cream. Add dill to taste. At this point you can adjust how thick the soup is by adding additional stock to thin it or cream to thicken.

Serve with crusty french bread and green salad.

Note: We usually double or triple this recipe so that we have leftovers.

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