Monday, February 16, 2009
It's been raining for days. Love it. Soup weather.
I don't know about you, but I get on craving jags with different soups each year. Three years ago it was Gypsy Soup (garbanzos, peppers, tomatoes and spicies). Last year it was Lentil with Kale. This year it's 'Tater Soup.
Ah, the potato...such a maligned food. I believe it's gotten its bad rap from the reductionist nutritionists who take everything down to molecules, forgetting that we know about 1/100th of what there is to know about the synergistic aspect of whole foods. (another ranty sort of post in the making about that one!)
Yes, it's a high glycemic index food. But when combined with fats, that aspect of it is toned down. It's high in vitamins, a "...source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals." (this quote taken from here, wherein you can read even more about the wonders of Mr. Potato).
This soup is amazingly simple. I got it from one of the two friends I've dubbed "My Iowa friends." It's actually, in the end, simply mashed potatoes in a soup base with cream and butter. I'm not much of a mashed potato sorta gal, but this soup...ah this soup. It invokes safety, cuddles and groundedness. My body feels happy after eating it. Yum.
5ish pounds of potatoes
A large onion or leeks ...depending on how alium-y you like your soup...I generally use two large leeks, sliced small or minced
Water or veggie broth to cover potatoes
Butter- a stick, preferably organic and NOT margarine
Cream- preferably organic
French Sea Salt
Parsley (if you want to get fancy)
Cut potatoes into a number of different sizes. When I first started to make this, I cut them all uniformly. I learned to cut about half of them in very smallish pieces...like under 1`/2 inch. Then cube or whatever, the rest in larger pieces...closer to 1 1/2 or so. This way the smallish pieces fall apart to make a thick broth, but you still have the larger pieces to get hunkies of potatoes, which makes the soup satisfying.
Put potatoes and alium in pan. Cover with the broth or water. Cook until the large potato pieces are tender but not falling apart. Put in butter, and enough cream to give the broth some color, to taste. Add other stuff and serve.
As I use this for the main course of my meals, I want some protein. So I had this idea to put fish in. I got totally addicted to Psarosoupa (fish soup) in Greece. This is a much simpler way to make it and the fish does not overpower. I never had that problem in Greece, where each family has their own recipe, but when I tried to make it, I guess I overcooked the fish stock or something. Plus, my understanding from a couple of cooks over there, they use this really small fish to make the stock and we don't have it here. This recipe of potatoe soup tasted close enough to those traditional soups to bring back memories of balmy nights on the beach tavernas after a day of sailing. I use Rock Fish or Cod. Cook up (I generaly fry/steam it in Grapeseed oil). Add to the soup after it's in the bowl. If I have leftovers, I store the fish seperately and add at the end of heating up the soup so as to warm it but not recook it.
You can also add other veggies. My daughter makes an Italian version of the soup with kale and Italian sausage, fewer potatoes and more cream.
While the variations are wonderful, for me, it's the simplicity of the potaoes, and the mild fish that keep calling me back. Yup...this is what's for dinner tonight. I'm trying it in the crockpot for the first time.