Thursday, February 4, 2010

Potato Soup

So, with the upcoming SNOWPOCALYSE 2.0 hitting Maryland soon, I figured it'd be a great time for some hearty, creamy potato soup! Yummmm. Bacon always makes a great topper, and so do cheddar cheese and fresh green onions if you've got 'em. 

8 cups diced potatoes (I add as many as I have. It's a lot of potato, but that's the point.)
3 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 cup chopped onion (more if you want!)
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth, divided
4 cups half-and-half cream (you can use whole milk if you prefer, or if you run out, add milk to make up the difference)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cubes chicken bouillon (this sounds redundant. But it's not. BUT it does mean you do not need to add salt.)
ground black pepper. lots of it. and white pepper if you have it. lots of that too.

In a large pot, bring potatoes, celery, carrot and onion to a boil in 2 cups of broth, or as much as you need until the veggies are covered. Cook until potatoes are tender, 15 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid. Leave the veggies out in a bowl nearby, and put the liquid back into the pot.
Combine reserved broth and half-and-half in pot. In a bowl, combine melted butter and flour. Stir into half-and-half mixture over medium heat. Stir until thickened. Stir in reserved vegetables, remaining broth, bouillon and pepper. Add some more pepper. If you want, add the bacon. Heat through and serve.

As an afterthought: if you're cooking up some bacon either to throw into the soup or to put on top, I reccomend cooking it while the veggies are cooking. That way, you can use the bacon grease in place of some of the butter, which gives the soup a much richer flavor without losing the buttery goodness of it. I cooked up 3 strips of bacon, which left me ~1 tbsp of grease. So I used that and a sparing 5 tbsp of nice melty butter.
Also, when you blend the butter (or butter and bacon fat) into the flour, you're making a roux, which is a very useful way to thicken plenty of things. It's 1 part solid to one part liquid, basically-- you can make them with (usually) flour and a liquid/fat, like melted butter or milk. 

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