Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Irish" Potato Soup

Okay so this isn't really an Irish recipe, but since it is St. Patty's day and all I thought this soup would be appropriate.  For those of you that do not care for corned beef and cabbage, maybe you could make some Potato Soup and a cabbage salad for dinner with some Irish soda bread.  The nice thing about Irish soda bread is that it uses baking soda instead of yeast - so you can make it quickly and easily for dinner tonight!  I did find a site that specified if it has raisins, eggs, shortening, sugar or baking powder in it - that is not soda bread (that is cake).  Here is a nice Irish Soda Bread recipe that I think I've tried and enjoyed.

A few months ago I found myself with lots of potatoes from our CSA and had an urge to make potato soup without bacon, I'm not much for the stuff, but Ryan loves it.  So, I set out to find a healthier option for potato soup.  My cousin sent me her recipe which I did take a few ideas from, but the main recipe I chose came from EatingWell (a great magazine and website for finding healthier recipes).  And the results were fabulous - still smooth and creamy with lots of taste, but without the extra fat found in most recipes.  UPDATE: I'm not so afraid of full fat dairy anymore and HERE is why. It froze well too, I just had some left-overs yesterday for lunch.  The water had separated, but once it was heated up and stirred it was as good as the first time, if not better.  Freezing seems to add flavor to soups.

This happens to be under their Budget Friendly Recipes category and can easily be made vegetarian.  Anyway, on to the recipe...

"Irish" Potato Soup
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 large cloves garlic (or 4 small), chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
5 cups chopped peeled potatoes
2 cups milk or cream or half and half (whatever you have)
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
shredded cheese (optional)
chopped ham or crumbled bacon (optional)
sliced scallions (optional)
Over medium heat melt butter and oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Cook onion, carrot and celery; stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (or parsley); cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

Stir in potatoes. Add  broth and milk; bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth (do not use a food processor - it is not meant to handle large quantities of liquid). (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Salt and pepper to taste, if you are using your own unsalted broth, you may need to add quite a bit more salt at this time.

Serve with shredded cheese, chopped ham or crumbled bacon and sliced scallions.

Notes:  This can easily be made vegetarian by using a vegetable broth or by making your own vegetable bouillon.  And to make this vegan, change the milk to water and the butter to more oil and only add scallions as a topping.

UPDATE: I made this yesterday and didn't have time to cook the onion, carrot and celery first. I threw everything (minus butter, olive oil and milk) into the crockpot and turned it on high for two+ hours. When I got home from my appointment I added cream and blended it. Then I browned some butter and added that to the finished soup - DELICIOUS!

Oh and my favorite cabbage salad is so simple - thinly sliced cabbage topped with sliced avocado and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Delicious and so simple!

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