Every now and then we need to return to the very “root” (or tuber, in this case) of cooking. This is one of those “basic” recipes. And soup is a great place to begin. Most of us love soup, or at the very least, like it. Particularly, when the thermometer begins to dip, as it is these days. But, we shouldn’t leave soup off of our summer menu, as many soups have the wonderful flexibility of being served either hot or cold. Potato soup is no exception…vichyssoise, anyone? Potato soup my be the purest of the soups. Don’t potatoes just seem wholesome somehow? They are the starch backbone for many cultures and with good reason. They are simply delicious. This version of potato soup is bare-bones, so to speak. No bacon. No cheese. Nope! Just potatoes, onions, celery, bay leaves, broth and cream/whole milk, salt…and lots and lots of black pepper. I prefer a combination of different types of potatoes—Red Bliss, Yukon Gold and Russet. They cook up slightly differently and are textually interesting. But, this isn’t essential to a great bowl of soup. There are those who wouldn’t add the celery, but I do think the soup is better with it, than without it. I prefer to leave this soup chunky when I’m serving it hot, but puréed when I’m serving it cold. But, that’s up to you and your taste buds.
Potato soup is absolutely a blank canvas for flavors. It is the base for chowders—with the addition of bacon and clams or corn. It’s a great way to use leftover chicken, pork or shrimp, too. It lends itself to the addition of herbs—dillweed, cilantro, basil, or chives come immediately to mind. For spices—cumin, curry powder, coriander, turmeric or paprika. It makes a great chunky cream of vegetable soup, with the addition of carrots, corn, parsnips, etc. Anyway, I think you get the idea, so I won’t beat this drum anymore.
It’s pretty simple, really. Sweat onions and celery in the butter, covered, in a heavy pan over low heat. The vegetables should be translucent, but shouldn’t brown. Toss in the bay leaves, pour in the broth, and add the diced potatoes. Cover and simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 20-30 minutes. You should be able to easily crush them against the side of the pan with your spoon. Stir in the cream/milk, if using. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes. If you want a smooth soup, purée it, but remember to remove the bay leaves first! If you like the soup to be chunky, then you’re ready to serve. Make certain to taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Ladle into bowls; top with a good amount of freshly ground black pepper and serve with good bread. Remember how I said earlier that I don’t add cheese…well, I don’t. But, The Latin Lover has other ideas! And that’s okay, too. Cheese is delicious. This soup is equally delicious served, either hot or cold.
Simply Delicious Potato Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup diced onion or leeks
- 1/3 cup finely diced celery (about a 6-inch piece)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken or vegetables broth (I prefer vegetable)
- 3 large or 4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (see NOTE)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 cup whole milk (optional)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper (I use heaps and heaps!)
In a large pot, over low heat, sweat the onions and celery in the butter. I cover the pan; the vegetables shouldn’t brown. Add the bay leaves, broth, and potatoes. Simmer over low heat until the potatoes are tender and just beginning to fall apart, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream/milk. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. If you wish a smooth soup, purée. If you like the soup to be chunky, then you’re ready to serve! Taste; add salt and pepper as desired. Ladle into bowls; top with a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with good bread. This soup may be served either hot or cold.
NOTE: I like to use a combination of potatoes, both red-skin, Russet, and Yukon Gold potatoes. I cut one potato in smaller pieces, so it will cook more quickly and begin to fall apart, thus thickening the soup slightly (this applies only if you aren’t puréeing the soup).
Simply Delicious Potato Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2018. All rights reserved.
This can be a wonderful supper, by topping each bowl with crumbled bacon, thinly sliced scallions and lots and lots of shredded cheese. Would a dollop of sour cream be overkill?