Difficulty level Easy
YIELD Serves 4
I love soup. I love making it, serving it, and eating it. It has to be the most versatile food thing going. You can make it as an appetizer, a light lunch, a hearty meal, or dessert. It can be an elegant start to a dinner party or a comforting thing to sip when you are sick.
Last year, my son and a few friends went off on a May canoe trip in the wilds of Algonquin Park. They were a day late returning and we were worried. My husband set off from our cottage, which is about 40 minutes from the park, thinking he would have to charter a boat to search for them along the route we knew they were taking.
They did arrive back on their own, and they were exhausted, storm-tossed, soaking wet and hypothermic. So, I made them soup. Two months ago, one of the girls who had been on the trip told me that she would remember that bowl of soup for the rest of her life. It wasn't a particularly good soup-just full of warmth, love, and gratitude for their safe return.
So with all that sort of thing in mind I decided I would unilaterally declare January Soup Month on Planet Green. Then I thought, if I'm going to be bossy about it, I should just unilaterally declare 2008 the Year of Soup. Starting off on this shiny New Year's Day I will begin a weekly series of soups and I will chart the seasons with local ingredients as we move through the months. So, carpe diem, make soup.I'm going to introduce you to a very simple potato soup. I often make potato soup because I usually have the ingredients to hand in the winter and it doesn't take much effort. You can do anything you want with this, so feel free to experiment.
If you want to puree the soup, then it doesn't matter what size you cut the potatoes. If you want it chunky, make the dice a bit smaller. For a more delicate tasting soup, you can use leeks rather than onions, but a bunch of leeks costs as much as 5 pounds of onions in my grocery store-and then you have to go to the effort of cleaning them really well.
If you want some protein in the soup, toss in a can of navy beans. You can add some sliced carrots and celery, too, if you like. I usually add some light cream, but you can leave it brothy, as well.
As this is a guideline, the amounts given are all approximate, so you can make the soup thicker or thinner as you please. Serve this as a first course, or as a light lunch or add some salad and bread for a light dinner. This is also delicious cold.
|4‑5||medium size potatoes, peeled and diced|
|1||large onion, diced|
|5 cups||chicken stock, vegetable stock or water|
|1 tbsp||butter or vegetable oil|
|1 tbsp||fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried|
|1/2 cup||or so white wine or vermouth|
|1 cup||or so of light cream or milk|
|Salt and pepper to taste|
|Chopped chives for garnish|
- Heat butter or oil in a large pot and add the onions. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, 5 minutes or so.
- Add the potatoes, stock and thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 or 20 minutes.
- Puree using an immersion blender, or do it in batches in your blender taking care with the hot soup. Return to pot if using a blender.
- Add the wine and cream to the soup and heat it through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chives if using.