Making Soup

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of growing up to be a chef.  And so I did. Sort of. I worked as a caterer on my own, and I cooked mostly in institutional settings (churches, retreat centers, summer camps) and not so much in restaurants. But then, as I got older and started a family, I found that I liked being home with them, and a food service career usually meant I was working when they were home and vice versa. So I switched careers. But I never lost my love of cooking.

Last night my husband said he wanted soup for dinner, but he was talking about a veggie soup. I had just done a veggie soup a couple of weeks ago (still have uneaten leftovers that need to be tossed), and I wasn't really in the mood. Then he started saying something about a potato soup, and I'm still not sure what he had in mind when he brought it up because when I talked about doing a cream soup he wasn't sure what I meant, but said it sounded good and he'd give it a try. He's a team player like that.

I did a quick Google search and found a recipe that used the mirepoix base, which is more work, but is more "from scratch" than using, say, a can of cream of chicken soup and adding potatoes and bacon.

So, I made the soup and it went together seamlessly (which almost never happens) as if I had cooked it a million times before and it was SO GOOD!!

I started by chopping up a whole pack of bacon and frying it in my big soup pot. It made too much grease, so I had to pour a lot out, but I kept enough in the pot to cook my veggies. I peeled and finely diced a big russet potato, half an onion, three carrots, and three stalks of celery. I cooked the veggies in the bacon grease with salt, pepper, and garlic until they were soft, then I poured in some chicken stock and simmered until they were nearly mush. I was going to use my immersion blender, but the blade was stuck and wouldn't turn (don't know why). Fortunately I have a blender, so I poured everything in and blended until totally smooth. At that point it was very thick. 

I poured the base back in my pot, added the rest of my chicken stock (I used that box stuff. It's good!) and a bottle of half and half (the smallest bottle I could by which was probably about 12 or 14 oz).  I also mixed a little milk and flour on the side and poured that in to thicken it up.

Meanwhile, I had also boiled some diced russet potatoes (peeling on) in salted water in another pot and set those aside.

I brought the soup up to a simmer until it thickened a little. Then I poured in the diced potatoes I had cooked on the side. To serve, I spooned the soup and potatoes in bowls, then sprinkled a handful of crumbled bacon,  cheddar cheese, and some green onions. I think it also might be good with a little sour cream, but the soup was already so creamy it might have been too much.

Anyway, it really didn't take that long considering all those ingredients and it was so complex and rich. I really appreciate the value of the mirepoix and should use it more often.

So, here's a link to the recipe for those who need precise measurements. It's called the Perfect Potato Soup from the Pioneer Woman's website:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/perfect-potato-soup/