Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Potato-Cheddar Soup

Soup is generally fairly new to me (enough qualifiers there?). The sum total of soups I have made include: wonton soup, chili, chicken and orzo soup, a rather tasty mexican pork & rice soup, and a not-so-terrible-but-not-completely-satisfying Greek egg-lemon soup (Marylanders… ever been to Ambrosia in Rockville? Their egg-lemon soup is the stuff I dream about. Mine is not yet up to snuff). So when I started flipping through our newly acquired soup book, so many of them sounded tasty, we just had to make them all.

First off, Potato-Cheddar. I like potato and cheddar and hearty soups in general. Plus, it was to be topped with bacon. Can’t go wrong there. I had never wrestled with leeks before, but was willing to give it a try (and was embarrassed not to be able to pick them out of a line up in the grocery store).

This soup could have benefited from: 1) me actually using my wand mixer more liberally (or using a food processor as recommended) because the texture was more gritty than creamy 2) some cream, more cheddar cheese, less leek, potentially some hefty chunks of potato, and more bacon/seasoning. Maybe I just had a different idea of what this should taste like versus what it did taste like. It’s a basic enough recipe and maybe that’s the problem—a little too basic. There’s plenty of room for changes next time (which I fully intend to try). Play around with it, let me know if you come up with anything a little more sure-fire.

Potato-Cheddar Soup
From William-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Soup
Serves 4
4/10 (could be better with some changes)

4 slices of bacon
1 leek, white part only, rinsed and thinly sliced (go easy on this… very strong flavor)
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk (I would replace at least part of this with half-n-half or cream)
salt and pepper (use liberally)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I would double this)

1) In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 min. Transfer bacon to paper towels and drain.
2) Discard all but 2 tbs of the bacon drippings from the pan and return to medium heat. Add the leek and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes.
3) Add the potatoes and broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
4) Raise the heat to medium add the milk (or cream) and 1/2 tsp of pepper and bring just to a simmer. Ussing a food processor, blender or want mixer, process the soup to a smooth puree (really, this is very important otherwise the soup is unpleasantly gritty). If removed, return soup to sauce pan and reheat to serving temperature. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper
5) Ladle soup into bowls, crumble bacon on top and serve.

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