Several days ago I got a desire to whip up a batch of potato soup. Not just any potato soup, this was the Absolutely Ultimate Potato Soup recipe that I picked up from the Internet years ago when I was in the home-ec class at the high school. It comes from the allrecipes.com website. I have to admit, it's the best potato soup I've ever had. I shared some with the shipwright and his daughter and got a two thumbs up. It would be hard not to like it - you use a whole pound of bacon to make it. Also three tablespoons of butter and a cup of heavy cream. I suppose it could also be called Cardiac Arrest Soup. It's not something that should be eaten more than once or twice a year I would venture to say. I kind of wanted to throw in a little info on potatoes so that if a family member asks you what you're reading you don't get yelled at for wasting valuable time entertaining yourself with my blog when you could be doing something useful. I did a little research and found that potatoes originated in South America somewhere around the 1400's. The Spanish Conquistadors brought them back to Europe where they took hold and became a staple in places like Ireland. The Spanish called them Patatas. By the time the English got ahold of them the name had changed to potato.I then looked up the Irish Potato Famine on a site called The History Place and got a whole lot more than I bargained for. It was an eye-opening look into human nature covering everything from the foolishness of counting on one resource to support you to religious persecution, greed, indifference to human suffering and good old fashioned politics. I hope if you are so inclined you will check out that web site. It's a bit of history that goes a long way in explaining what caused the famine and the far reaching effects that have helped to shape not just England and Ireland but the North American continent as well. Now on to less serious subjects- like me. I mentioned to a friend in an email that if I ever had a restaurant, I would only serve two items every day. Like chicken breast sandwiches with melted mozzarella and sauteed green peppers and onions on a sesame hoagie roll and maybe Cha Cha potatoes....mmmm...Cha Cha's. Then I started thinking, I could just serve soup- just like the Soup Nazi on the Seinfeld episode. I could offer several indescribably delicious soups like the aforementioned Ultimate Potato Soup, or my fabulous SpicyVegetable with Venison roast or possibly CornChowder. So far, those are the only soups I've made, but I'm sure I could expand my horizons. I might even do like the Soup Nazi did and offer a tasty bread to go with the soup, but be forewarned, one complaint and "No soup for you!"
At the expense of making this post so long you fall asleep mid-way through, I'm going to include the soup recipe for anyone interested. It was submitted to allrecipes.com by someone named Karena. Thanks Karena- if I die from a heart attack with a mouth full of this soup, at least I'll die happy.
Absolutely Ultimate Potato Soup
1 pound bacon, chopped 3 tablespoons butter
2 stalks celery 1/4 cup all- purpose flour
1 onion chopped 1 cup heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dried tarragon ( I skip this)
8 potatoes, peeled & cubed 3teaspoons fresh cilantro, chopped
4 cups chicken stock, or enough to cover potatoes
1. In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until done. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside. Drain off all but 1/4 cup of bacon grease
2.In the bacon grease remaining in the pan, saute the celery and onion until the onion begins to turn clear. Add the garlic, and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and add enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
3. In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat.Whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream, (tarragon if you use it) and the cilantro. Bring the cream mixture to a boil and cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir the cream mixture int the potato mixture. Puree about 1/2 the soup and return to the pan. Adjust seasonings to taste.
As Julia Child would say..."Bon Appetite!"