21 January 2010

Susan's 'In a Mood' Soup Post...

Today's post comes from the frustrated cook that lies within all of us... what do you do when you have a certain craving and you just can't find the recipe that fits your taste? Read on...

Any blogger that tells you they're blogging just for the fun of it is full of it ... and you know what 'it' is! We all are trying to come up with something totally our own - be it photos, paintings, journalistic life experience, fictional creative writing, food, crafts, whatever. Fun of it? Yeah, that's nice and that's part of it, but...! We are all striving to make our mark on this big old cruel world.

Call it my mood, and I have been in a big old mood of late, call it whatever - I got up this morning and thought to myself, 'Susan! Today, you develop your own recipe. Get your sorry ass down there in that kitchen and get that potato soup recipe out of your brain!' I have been wanting a satisfying potato soup and there are no recipes out there that are doing it for me! They have cream, cream cheese, softened potatoes and onions, blandness or saltiness galore! So! I decided to take my understanding of a basic 'cream of...' soup and put my spin on it.

What am I looking for? I want a smooth creamy base that has the basic ingredient(s) incorporated into it. Then! I want some green and some crunch that you find in the springtime and summertime. I don't know about you, but it's the back end of January and I am heartily sick of winter. A taste of Spring would be a tonic right now! I am not a vegetarian; I want a soup that has just a bit of crunchy meat to complement the 'cream of ..' smoothness, but I don't want the saltiness. I want potato flavor, but potatoes with some body to them. I want a soup that doesn't have to have a long loaf of bread making crumbs all over the place. I want a soup that does not remind me of Oliver Twist's bowl of gruel. I want a soup that makes Silent Bob say, "Sounds good! When are we gonna eat ?"

 Does that make it clear enough for you? Or, as a famous Massena, NY high school teacher said, 'Do I have to draw you a picture?"

So, my friends, I've been drinking cold beer and slicin' and dicin'. Here is the result! Beer and all, I have written the recipe and taken pix as I went along and here it is. Now, I can tell that there are a bunch of people viewing my recipes (ain't technology a wonderful thing?). This is your time to do me the biggest favor and make this soup. Analyze it. Play with it.  I am particularly stumped on the spices (and amounts) ... whether they work or whether there are other combinations that would be better. Pancetta or bacon? The salt factor is really an issue. The soup should have a hint of salt and a bit of salty meat, but the balance is the thing. Enter some comments for others to read and let's get this right... thanks!

Wintertime Creamy Potato-Leek Soup

Making the Soup...

In a large soup pot, sauté until translucent:
   2 tbsp. butter
   1 medium onion, small dice
   2 leeks, whites and about an inch of the white/green section sliced into thin pennies
   plenty of black pepper

Add to make a roux:
   2 tbsp. flour

   6 c. weak chicken stock (some chicken flavor, but less saltiness is what we’re going for here)
   4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped

Simmer until the potatoes are tender and then, pureé the whole mess until smooth.

   1 c. milk
   1 c. half-and-half

Whisk to incorporate and add:
   1 sprig fresh rosemary
   2 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Turn the heat off, cover, and allow to rest while the green herbs work their way into the soup.

Finishing the Soup...

In a non-stick pan, brown, drain on paper towels, and set aside:
   ¼ c. finely diced pancetta or bacon

Slice into thin ‘coins and rings’ and set aside:
   2 perfect scallions/green onions

Make croutons by tossing in a bowl:
   2 c. fresh bread cubes (what size do you want floating in your soup?)
   2 tbsp. melted butter
   a sprinkling of black pepper
   1/4 tsp. powdered sage or Bell’s poultry seasoning

Place the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and place in a hot oven (400º) to toast. Watch them carefully and toss them around a bit to brown evenly. Set them aside in a pretty bowl to share with your dining partners.

Toss in a small amount of olive oil and pepper:
   2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed into small (1/2-inch) cubes

Place on the cookie sheet you used to toast the croutons and roast (same 400º oven) until they are browned on all sides.

Serving the Soup...

Toss the roasted potatoes into the soup, top with the pancetta and scallions.

Have the croutons on the table for folks to drop into the soup.


1 comment:

  1. Susan--Potato Leek is my all time favorite soup, so I will be trying this out and letting you know what we think! And I agree--bloggers don't do this for fun--it's an outlet!


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