Potato Soup and Pepper Cheese Bread
First, you have to understand that today is the first real winter weather we’ve had this winter. And my girl child (a.k.a. Drama Queen, a.k.a. Elder Child, a.k.a. L) is sick. This situation called for soup.
One of L’s favorites is my potato soup, which I’ve adapted from how my mom always made it. Warning – I don’t much measure when I’m cooking, as opposed to baking. So most of the recipe is to taste, and it varies a bit each time I make it.
So before I get to that, how about a real recipe? The Southern Lady Cooks posted a recipe on Facebook this morning for Peppery Cheese Bread. Perfect to go with potato soup!!
I did adapt it a little, mostly because I had some shredded mozzarella I needed to use up. So I had about half a cup of mozz, and half a cup of cheddar. I like it. I added a touch extra salt, since I had cut down on the cheddar. This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious! Go make it! While the bread was baking and cooling, I fixed the potato soup.
My mom taught me how to make this when I was a kid. I started cooking with Mom when I was about 7 or 8. Those of you who know me IRL and think I’m a good cook? My Momma taught me everything I know, and encouraged me to be in the kitchen. Grateful forever for that!!
So, potato soup. One of my favorites to make in the winter, and it’s quick to make even for a weeknight. I like stews and thick broths more than my mom. So where hers is more brothy (is that a word?), mine is heartier.
I start by cutting up an onion, a few stalks of celery, and a few carrots. I’m not especially precise with the knife work for this (it’s rustic!), and I’m ok with that. Add 5-6 potatoes, cut into cubes. I leave the skins on, because I like them. You’re free to peel. I also minced a few cloves of garlic and threw that in. Cover with water or chicken/vegetable stock. Today I used water, and added a few tablespoons of chicken soup base. You can use plain water, but I’m a fan of adding more flavor wherever I can. Soup base can be pretty salty, so I only added a dash of seasoned salt and a good bit of pepper and celery seed. Today I had some fresh thyme left over from something else, so I put a few of those in. And a bay leaf, because why not? Sometimes I use fines herbs, tarragon, rosemary, ground thyme. Whatever I’m in the mood for, really.
Bring to a boil and simmer on medium low until the potatoes and carrots test done. Usually this is about 20 – 25 minutes for me. Then remove the bay leaf, thyme stems (if you used fresh). Because I like thicker broths/stews, I usually add some instant potato flakes at the end, stir it well, and let it simmer for a few more minutes. I don’t measure, but I added a half cup or so. It gives the broth a lot more body. My mom always added a half stick of margarine, if not a whole stick. I don’t love margarine – I much prefer real butter, but I’ve found that it is fine to cut that down to a tablespoon or two. Use your own judgement, or follow the recommendations of your cardiologist! Then I take it off the heat and add a splash of dairy – maybe 1/4 cup. It might be milk. It might be half and half. It might be heavy cream. Whatever floats your boat.
Slice that yummy bread, and ladle some of the soup into a bowl, and you have a hearty dinner perfect for a snowy night! And all done in less than an hour.