Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rustic Potato Soup

It started with a need to clean out some of my perishables. The holidays are coming which means I will be traveling. Nothing would ruin a fabulous Christmas and New Years than coming home to a fridge full of moldy milk, expired chicken broth, and brown wilted vegetables.

Soups (my one true food love) are always a great option for the "kitchen sink" type of meals. I absolutely love hearty soups with tons of veggies and rich, tender potatoes. I happened to have plenty of both on hand.

My go-to potato soups are usually rich and thick and creamy. Think baked potato soup, or potato leek.

When I started putting this soup together, I decided more justice would be served to the ingredients if I kept it a little lighter. Not quite a broth-based soup, but not a rich potato mash either.

What I ultimately plated up for dinner was a Rustic Potato Soup, served alongside a toasted baguette and topped with pecorino romano and green onions. It was light yet hearty at the same time. With the bread, it created a very simple and sophisticated dinner; and, like all great soups, it reheated beautifully for a lunch time treat the next day.

And it started as any good soup should. With carrots and celery.

Herbs got bundled together to create a vessel of flavor euphoria.

I gave my russet potatoes a nice, rustic peel. Peeling potatoes "rustically" means a very, very lazy woman had the task of removing some of the skin from these taters, and she certainly couldn't be bothered removing every last bit of it.

Into the pot everything goes, along with a secret flavor weapon....a parmesan rind!

Whenever get down to the very bottom of a block of parmesan, be sure to wrap the rinds well and save them as flavor agents for your soups! They will last for a long time in the fridge.

The soup will simmer away until the potatoes become tender and then a little bit of low-fat milk is mixed in for a slight creamy edge.

All the flavors are very delicate, and the additions of potato and milk lets it stick to your stomach. I suggest using this as a base and adding in whatever you may have lying around the kitchen like chicken, kale, spinach, leeks.

Here's what you need:

2 carrots,  peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium to large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig sage leaves
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 parmesan rind
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
Extra virgin olive oil
Plenty of salt and pepper
Pecorino Romano cheese and green onions for garnish

Here's what you do:

In a large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper.

Tie together the rosemary, sage, and bay leaves using cooking twine. Place on top of the vegetables.

Cover and cook for 5 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.

Toss in the shallot and garlic. Cook down for 30 seconds.

Stir in the potatoes and pour in the chicken stock. Mix well to combine.

Stir in the water and add the rind. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Season again with salt and pepper.

Gradually stir in the milk and continue simmering for another 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve immediately with plenty of cheese and green onions on top!

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