One of the things I always enjoyed growing up was my mother’s potato soup. A bowl of potato soup and stack of saltine crackers and I was set. OK, so it’s a carbohydrate overload, but it was something I looked forward to during the cold weather months.
The base recipe was one that even a friend of mine who “won’t eat soup” (according to his wife) really liked.
Over the years I’ve modified the original recipe, adding ingredients to* and removing others to the point I think I’m satisfied with the result.** My family and friends like it enough to go back for seconds (and thirds).
2 lb bag of white potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
2 cans of low sodium chicken broth
3 – 4 stalks of celery plus the hearts of celery (the center leafy stalks), chopped
2 c carrots, chopped (or use baby carrots)
½ large onion, diced
½ tsp garlic (fresh, powder, or minced freeze dried, as preferred)
4 oz cooked and crumbled sausage, either country or turkey (I use the precooked Jimmy Dean sausage crumbles anymore)
milk (1% or 2% works fine; whole milk gives a richer, denser flavor—and more calories)
black pepper, to taste
Clean, peel, and chop the potatoes. Dump those into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and chicken broth and cook on medium heat for about thirty to forty minutes, long enough for the potatoes and other ingredients to soften. Meanwhile, if you’re using uncooked sausage, go ahead and cook that though it might be better to cook that earlier, giving it enough time to cool and crumble, making sure to remove as much grease as possible.
Once the potatoes are done, pull it off the burner. Mash everything. I tend to plunge away with the masher until everything has a “mashed potato” consistency but you can stop well before that if you prefer. Toss in the garlic and sausage and give it a stir. Add a dash or two of black pepper. Now start adding milk and stirring until you reach a soup consistency. This will take at least a cup and more likely two.
Return the pot to the burner and heat on medium-low until everything has had a chance to warm up again and the flavors have intermingled. This will take at least twenty to thirty minutes more.
The pepper and garlic I tend to add sparingly to the dish. Some like those ingredients (I do) and others don’t (my kids), so I include what I feel needs to be there and leave condiment/seasoning bottles on the counter for anyone to add extra to their portion.
If you like more fiber with the soup, consider adding a tablespoon of steel cut oats or ground flax seed to a cup of the soup, then popping the bowl in the microwave for thirty seconds.
Winter is here. A bowl of hot potato soup sounds pretty good.***
Try it and let me know what you think.
*The carrots I added several years ago just to get more veggies in the soup. The chicken broth replaced the large amount of butter and milk in the original recipe. The sausage I added after I got married and my wife would always drop a handful of shredded meat into her bowl.
**For now. I’m always tinkering with recipes and even when I get something I like I wind up changing it ever-so-slightly the next time I’m in the kitchen. The original recipe called for boiling the potatoes in water, then draining the water. After years of doing this I realized I was dumping out all the vitamins. Duh.
***Actually, I broke down and cooked a pot of this last weekend. This is one of those dishes that is an easy prep for game night or any get together with friends. You aren’t spending all your time in the kitchen.