Potato soup is the simplest comfort dish for when the nights get long and rainy. A few dried wild mushrooms will turn it into an exquisite meal.
Potato soup and I go back
A potato soup might sound boring and basic but this one is anything but. I used to cook it before I knew how to cook – that’s testimony to how easy it is – and I still cook it – that’s how good it is.
I cooked it when I was a student and my flatmate loved me for it. I’d cook a big great vat because I knew that as if by magic, the doorbell would ring and hungry mates would turn up – because they always did.
What goes into potato soup?
Back then it was an affair of spuds, carrots and maybe a parsnip or a swede, whatever was going for free at the end of a vegetable market.
Fancy stuff like dried mushrooms only appeared in the recipe much later. Back then, I wouldn’t know what to do with stuff like that, and by no means spend good beer-buying money on it.
Diced onion and a little butter was an essential garnish though – to be fair, without them I might as well have dissolved a stock cube with some instant mash. I was skint, but I had my food standards even then.
Since those days, I’ve made my potato soup a thousand times.
I like the addition of soy sauce; I make a point to always add some fresh thyme and I no longer consider dried mushrooms an outlandish, but rather an essential ingredient.
Soups should be chunky
I am very much against blended, creamed or pureed soups. It seems like a completely wasted effort of peeling and dicing the vegetables and other ingredients if a master blaster with a blender comes in and blitzes it all into oblivion. Very, very wrong. Also – blended soups are baby food; grown ups have teeth.
So no ‘creams of’ this or that will hold my attention on the menu of a restaurant or on a supermarket shelf – because yes, it’s perfectly all right to open a can of soup every now and then – and I don’t even own a stick blender.
Chunky soups are far more interesting and actually require some skill: you can’t just let it all cook itself into oblivion since it’s going to be blended anyway. The textures are important.
How to cook my potato soup?
Very simply: carrots and celery take a little longer to cook so they go into the pot first. Potatoes need only a few minutes to soften while the onions are turning golden in a skillet. A little flour to create rudimentary roux, to thicken the soup slightly – or just because my Grandma always sprinkled flour on her soups.
And whatever you don’t eat on the day can be frozen and make it a better and easier meal on another day than opening a can!