Leftover mashed potatoes? What a perfect and perfectly quick way to make soup for dinner. Potato soup is a blank canvas. There are so many variations, it’s hard to choose. It can be eaten cold or hot; we definitely want it hot today! It’s creamy comfort, with or without the cream. How we taste or experience food isn’t just a physical sensation; it’s a head game, too. If you choose not to use milk or cream in this soup, you won’t miss it. You will still have the sensation of creaminess, but with fewer calories. The Goddess got a bit side-tracked drinking wine with a friend, so the onions caramelized. Life happens. So, this isn’t going to be a snowy, white potato soup; it’s not a virginal soup, okay? This soup’s been out in the world a bit. This soup has been around, but along the way, it’s picked up some tricks. This version has some fresh fennel bulb tossed into with the leeks (no onions), no mashed potatoes (someone ate them up and didn’t tell me!), so I used raw potatoes, both Yukon gold and Russets (you just have to cook the mixture a bit longer). This version has a few gratings of nutmeg and some bleu cheese tossed in at the last minute. I sprinkled each serving with toasted walnuts just before serving. I decided to thin the soup, as it was nearing mashed potato thickness, with about a 1 cup broth at the end. Here’s the recipe with variations; she’s a versatile little vixen, isn’t she?
Mashed Potato Soup
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onions or sliced leeks
- 1/2 cup diced celery
- 1 shallot, very finely chopped or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried shallots (optional)
- 3 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes (or 3 cups raw Russets, peeled and diced)
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried chives
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1-2 cups broth, whole milk or half-and-half to correct the thickness
Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and when melted, toss in the onions, celery and bay leaf. Cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent. Slowly stir in the hot broth. Gently stir in the mashed potatoes. If using uncooked potatoes, add them and cook until done, about 15 minutes. Mash slightly, but leave some texture (or purée smooth with an immersion blender, being careful not to over-blend). Add salt, pepper, chives, and mustard; gradually add the additional broth (or milk), stirring just until smooth. Don’t over stir or the potatoes can become gooey. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes. We eat this with oyster crackers or butter toast and lots of black pepper.
- —add 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese; garnish with toasted walnuts and/or bacon
- —add 1-2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- —add cooked chicken, salmon, shrimp (and the dill, if you wish)
- —add broccoli and/or cauliflower with the onions
- —add 1 cup frozen, chopped spinach, a few grindings of fresh nutmeg
- —add 1 cup corn kernels, 1 small can diced green chiles
- —add 1/2 cup diced fresh fennel and 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
- —add 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms with the leeks
- —add a drizzle of truffle oil on each serving
- —to thicken, stir in instant mashed potato flakes 1 tablespoon at a time
Mashed Potato Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
I think you get the idea how flexible this recipe is, right? See what I mean…so many choices, so little time. Make a double batch and eat it as is (you might want to drizzle some truffle oil over your bowl…I’m getting light-headed just thinking about it); then when you reheat, use one of the variations and you have an entirely different soup. Remember the supermarket roasted chicken? Yup, tear it up and toss it in; there’s a complete meal in a bowl. Don’t you love versatility? And at least once, please, please, please do add the bleu cheese and garnish with toasted walnuts. You can add the crumbled bleu to the hot soup or simply add it to each individual serving. I add a wedge to the top as well, and serve extra walnuts in a bowl on the table, as you just can’t get enough toasted walnuts! Walnuts (and do toast them) go uncannily well with potatoes and the textural contrast and buttery quality of the walnuts is spectacularly good. Try sprinkling toasted, chopped walnuts on mashed potatoes or make a mashed potato, bleu cheese, fig and toasted walnut pizza! Try any of these options; you won’t be sorry.