I’ve slacked on making my go-to recipes lately. It’s always more fun to try new ones and hopefully have exciting new flavors to enjoy. But I need to go back to my roots (vegetables) and make a pot of potato soup and thereby immortalize my recipe. Or just, you know, share it with family and friends. No need for fame.
Are potatoes actually root vegetables? The internet seems to waiver on it but Good Housekeeping agreed with me, so that’s what I’m going with. They grow in the ground, in the roots, that should make them root vegetables. We grow an awful lot of potatoes here in the Red River Valley of the North, and we make them into all kinds of foods, including potato chips that we coat in chocolate called “chippers”. We’ll skip the chocolate in making potato soup. Or we’ll just save the chocolate to go into the dessert after the soup. Better idea!
I make potato soup often, sometimes I leave the skins on for a more rustic soup. It’s also leaving on a good source of vitamins and that’s always a good idea. I like to use chicken stock as my soup base, and fry crispy bits of bacon to put into the soup for a smoky taste. I dice the bacon before frying and make sure it is super crispy and browned. Wiggly, pale bacon in soup makes it kind of icky.
Potatoes boil fast and cook down and disappear easily, so making soup that still has nice chunks of potato becomes a challenge. Adding broccoli to potato soup came from one of those times I lost track and my potatoes fell apart and melted into the broth. It still tasted good, but there needs to be chunks unless it’s a pureed soup.
I grabbed a bunch of broccoli out of the fridge, diced it up somewhat and added it to the soup. I let it cook a few minute until it was tender but with a little crunch left. Sort of al dente, so to speak. The resulting soup was so good we called it Green Potato Soup and so it became an actual recipe instead of a cooking blunder.
Adding cheese is a maybe/maybe not depending on my mood. I like it without cheese so I can dip toast into my bowl or cup and sop up the broth. Other times I like it thicker with cheese so that the potato broccoli soup is more of a chowder. It’s a versatile soup, there are more additions than I can imagine, I’m sure.
Butter is another variable. It makes the soup richer in a delicious way, but if calories are an issue you can go without the butter. There is plenty of flavor from the potatoes, bacon, chicken stock and broccoli without butter or cheese.
I’ve even frozen the soup using my bottle system after pureeing it and had great results. Thawed and heated in the microwave, it is still creamy and tasty. You wouldn’t want to freeze the cheesy version though. Pureed soups with cheese don’t freeze or reheat well in my experience.
But try it out and I think you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make. And eat, of course. It never lasts long in our house.
Green Potato Soup
6 medium sized potatoes; scrubbed and cut into 1” cubes
6 cups chicken broth or stock
4 cups chopped broccoli
6 strips bacon; diced
1 medium onion; diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic or ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Large pinch cayenne
2 cups heavy cream (can substitute half and half)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sharp cheddar; shredded (optional)
Place potatoes, chicken broth and broccoli in a soup pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook just until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
While the potatoes and broccoli cook, sauté the bacon in a skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until bacon is browned and crispy. About 5 minutes into the bacon frying, add diced onion. Stir occasionally so that the onions brown evenly.
Pour bacon and onion into the soup, along with the drippings. Add cream, garlic and cayenne and taste test for salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again and stir in cheese if using.
Serve hot with croutons, crackers or toaste.