We love the shining snowdrifts and the long dark evenings of winter. It’s the perfect time for recipes that take a long time to make. My great potato soup is one such recipe – something that can simmer on the stove while the kids make snow angels and warm up the whole family when darkness falls. To make it, you need:
How much of each do you need? Well, you can vary this a lot, as long as you keep the proportions constant. I usually use five pounds of potatoes, three to five onions, six cups of broth, and one cup of heavy cream. This makes eight hearty servings, main-course size.
Peel the potatoes. (Let the kids help with this part.) Dice them and set them aside.
Peel the onions and chop them. Put them in a soup pot with some chicken broth, and simmer until they are soft. If you prefer, you could saute them in a little olive oil instead.
Put the potatoes in the pot. Add enough chicken broth to just cover them. Bring to a boil.
Cover, and let the soup simmer over low heat for a long time. I’m talking about a LONG time – two hours or more. Yes, the soup would be done a lot quicker if you boiled the potatoes over high heat, but it wouldn’t taste as good. There’s something about a slow simmer that really brings up the flavor. You should simmer the potatoes until each piece starts to soften and crumble around the edges.
Take the soup off the stove. Mash the potatoes. Use an old-fashioned hand masher, not a food processor or blender. If you use high-speed equipment, you’ll get a nasty gluey texture.
Stir in heavy cream until the soup is as thin as you like. Gently warm it over low heat. When you serve it, grind a little pepper on each bowlful.
Like all simple recipes, the final quality of this one depends on the quality of the ingredients. You can use any kind of potato you choose, but get the freshest ones you can, and taste-test each potato as you dice it. One sour potato will ruin the entire pot of soup. I always use low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth. I don’t want the greasiness of chicken fat or the saltiness of ordinary bouillon competing with the sweetness of the cream. And fresh pepper is wonderful!
Treat your family with this great soup, and enjoy those long winter evenings together!