a confession: my husband does not like soup. i love soup. more than potatoes, more than fish, more than olives, that he does not like soup frustrates me a little and saddens me. this is not to say that he hates soup. he has an affinity for the hot and sour soup at the royal treasure, it’s #11 and we usually order a medium so that we have leftovers.*
originally, this was going to be a round-up about soup. blog posts proclaiming its greatness, how to store it, what to serve it with, and of course, what type of soup is best. because, right now, that’s the level of blogging that my brain – which is working 20 hours a week, going to school full-time and worrying about a house – can deal with. (and i’m okay with that). except one of the first soup recipes i came across, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
baked. potato. soup.
when i was a kid, my mom used to make pizza soup on weekends for lunch. beef broth, canned tomatoes, canned mushrooms, pepperoni (my favourite part), green peppers, maybe some onions. simmered. served and covered in cheese, which was then melted in the microwave or under the broiler. served with italian bread that was as healthy as it looked, it was the epitome of winter comfort food. and it had the benefit of being adaptable, most likely (truth be told, i don’t remember), to the tastes one might have about pizza. for example, were i to make it now, i would probably put roasted red peppers in and omit the green peppers.** and that is why the baked potato soup stopped me so suddenly. not strictly because it reminded me of my childhood, though it did a little bit. but, more because, like pizza soup, it can be adapted any which way.
baked potato soup
adapted (slightly) from smitten kitchen
1 head garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, washed, and chopped small
5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup sour cream
ground black pepper
the directions are pretty much what deb has written:
rinse the head of garlic to remove any outside grit or dirt. cut the top third off the head and peel any loose papery skins off the bottom two-thirds.
pop out a bunch (or all) of the garlic clove tips and mince them.
in a dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. add leeks and cook them until soft (but not brown), about 5 minutes.
add the minced garlic and cook another minute.
add the larger part of the garlic head (whole, not chopped), broth, bay leaves and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
reduce heat and simmer until garlic is very tender when pierced with tip of knife, 30 to 40 minutes.
add potatoes and continue to simmer, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
discard bay leaves. remove garlic heads. (if you’d like an extra garlic boost to the soup, using tongs or paper towels, squeeze garlic head at root end until cloves slip out of their skins. using a fork, mash the garlic cloves to smooth paste and add it back to the soup. otherwise, you can smear this on some bread later on.)
add sour cream to soup and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper to taste. using immersion blender, process soup until chunky-creamy, leaving lots of potato texture intact.
enjoy, topped with bacon bits, chives, more sour cream or whatever tickles your baked potato best.
*soup freezes really well in muffin tins.
**in my old(er) age, i have become incredibly picky about the when and how of eating green peppers.