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Recipes for potato soup

Four warming dishes made with the humble spud.

Leeks, bay leaves, onion, and parsley flavor this simple potato soup.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Leeks, bay leaves, onion, and parsley flavor this simple potato soup.

TIP Using an immersion blender rather than a blender with a jar saves time and cleanup.

 ELEMENTAL IRISH-STYLE POTATO SOUP

Makes about 3 quarts

If you have homemade chicken broth, this is a great recipe in which to use it. 

3 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, chopped

1½ pounds leeks (about 3 medium), white and light green parts halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1½ teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

6 sprigs fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and chopped

¾ cup half-and-half

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, for garnish 

Continue reading below

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the butter until melted and hot. When the bubbling subsides, add the onion, leeks, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have released their juices, about 8 minutes. Add the broth and potatoes, adjust heat to medium-high, and bring liquid to a boil. Adjust heat to very low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and parsley.

In a blender or with an immersion blender, puree mixture (working carefully and in batches if using a regular blender) until smooth and uniform. If necessary, return the mixture to the pot, then add the half-and-half, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste, and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the soup is heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve at once, garnishing with chives.

 

Variations

POTATO SOUP WITH BLUE CHEESE AND BACON

You’ll need 1¼ cups crumbled Gorgonzola (5 ounces) for the soup, plus some extra for garnish.

Follow the directions for Elemental Irish-Style Potato Soup, making the following changes:

1) In a large saucepan over medium heat, fry 6 slices bacon until lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Drain, crumble, and reserve. Pour all but 1½ tablespoons of the bacon fat out of the pan.

2) Reduce the amount of butter to 1½ tablespoons, thyme to 1 teaspoon, bay leaves to 1, and half-and-half to ½ cup. Add the butter to the bacon fat, adjust the heat to medium-high, and heat until the butter is melted and hot. When the bubbling subsides, add the onion, leeks, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, and proceed.

3) After removing the bay leaf and parsley, add 1¼ cups crumbled Gorgonzola, stir to mix, cover, and heat over low heat until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes, and proceed with the recipe.

4) Garnish each serving with the bacon, Gorgonzola, and chives.

 CREAMY POTATO AND WATERCRESS SOUP

Follow the directions for Elemental Irish-Style Potato Soup, making the following changes:

1) Reduce leeks to 1 pound (about 2 medium) and add 1 large celery rib, chopped, and 2 garlic cloves, minced. Omit the thyme and parsley.

2) After removing the bay leaves, add 6 cups (lightly packed) stemmed watercress leaves (about 1½ bunches), reserving a few small sprigs for garnish, stir to mix, allow it to wilt for 3 or 4 seconds, and proceed with recipe.

3) Omit the chives and garnish each serving with a watercress sprig.

TIP: Using an immersion blender rather than a blender with a jar saves time and cleanup.

Jim Scherer

TIP: Using an immersion blender rather than a blender with a jar saves time and cleanup.

 CHUNKY RUSTIC-STYLE POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

If you have a Parmesan rind, add it to the pot for extra flavor and richness. Because the vegetables stay intact, the yield is slightly more than the other recipes, about 3½ quarts.

Follow the directions for Elemental Irish-Style Potato Soup, making the following changes:

1) Increase the quantity of leeks to 2½ pounds (about 5 medium), white and light green parts halved lengthwise. Thinly slice 2 of the leeks (about 3 cups); cut the remaining 3 leeks into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups) and reserve. Proceed, adding the thinly sliced leeks with the onion, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, salt, and Parmesan rind, if using.

2) Substitute Yukon Gold potatoes for the russets; cut them into 1-inch pieces and add them and the large leek pieces to the pot along with the broth. Bring to a boil, adjust heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Rest the soup off heat until potatoes are tender and flavors meld, about 12 minutes (potatoes and large leek pieces will finish cooking during the rest period). Remove the bay leaves, parsley, and Parmesan rind.

3) Omit the half-and-half and do not puree the soup (if you prefer a thicker broth, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot to thicken the soup). Add 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve at once, garnishing each bowl with chives.

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