Senior spuds reincarnate as soup

I say po-tay-to, you say po-tah-to. One day we all say: Whoops! They sprouted!

Such is the fate of my potatoes. All 3 pounds in their unopened plastic bag.

I nearly toss ’em. I admit it. I steer away from food gone south.

sproutedpotatoes

Then, like the twice-baked potato, I think twice. Perhaps they can be salvaged in a soup if they’re not too far gone.

Or I can make a soup and if the flavor’s made hideous by the potatoes, I’ll then toss it then, comforted at least by the salvaging effort.

This original Curried Potato and Vegetable Soup recipe I found at a fav site, SimplyRecipes.com.

However, I tweak considerably, first by excluding a number of vegetables — my goal is to use up the plethora of aged potatoes without creating a batch big enough to feed an army! — then adding heat.

The spuds have become soft, the skins crinkly. I scrub away the sprouts and slice into one. The insides aren’t all mushy — a good sign that they’re still edible. There are a few decayed spots that I simply slice and toss. Yuck.

potatospot

potatospotclose

I dice around 2-1/2 pounds of russets, I think they are but don’t quote me. I love the nutritional peels so leave ’em on. Looking good.

dicedpotatoes

Revitalizing senior spuds

First, 1 white diced onion, 1 diced carrot, 2 cloves minced garlic and cumin seed are sweated in a stock pan with butter.

onion:carrot:cumin

Onions, carrots and cumin seed “breaking a sweat” in a pan, not the gym

Aromatics are added: turmeric, curry powder, dry yellow mustard.

Like I’ve said before and will surely shall again (!), virtually every soup begins with the excellent Better Than Bouillon chicken stock.

IMG_0038

A heaping spoonful into 5 cups of boiling water into the stock pot. Any quality chicken broth from a carton or can would suffice. (Tip: Avoid those salt licks passed off as bouillon cubes!)

Season with salt and pepper. (I use exclusively Himalayan or sea salt; idolized salt doesn’t hold a candle in flavor or nutrients!)

curriedpotatosoupcook

Curried potato soup in the making

Bring to a boil then simmer about 20 minutes.

I taste-test. While the turmeric — a powerhouse nutrient — and curry provide a warm earthy flavor, what’s lacking is heat. Like seriously lacking, man.

Easily remedied with 2 serrano chilies, seeds ‘n’ all, diced and stirred into the soup.

This soup’s heavy on starch. Because I’m craaaaving protein lately, I toss in a can of chunky white chicken from Costco.

kirklandcannedchicken

Costco rocks!

While I’m a dark-meat girl through ‘n’ through, for soups, white chicken’s sometimes preferred because, like tofu, it absorbs flavors.

Another 15 minutes on a slow simmer to disperse the peppers’ heat. More taste-tests. Bingo! Those 2 lil’ serranos do the trick! The soup’s got balance and an addictive bold enticing flavor that sends me marching back for seconds.

Top with cilantro or parsley. Since I’m a fan of the hearty rustic look, I leaf, I mean leave, on the stems.

The humble aging potato is reborn into deliciousness!

Curried Potato Soup

Allycat’s Curried Potato Soup

Curried Potato Soup 2

Ahhhh, spudsy satisfaction

 

To recount, my starting point is Curried Potato and Vegetable Soup recipe.

And the revised version with tweaks.

Allycat’s Curried Potato Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 diced serrano peppers, with seeds
  • 2-1/2 lbs. potatoes, unpeeled, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon
  • 5 cups water
  • A can or two of white chicken or cooked diced chicken (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (pink Himalayan or sea salt)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (or parsley) for garnish

WHAT TO DO

1. In a large pot (6-quart), melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and cumin seeds. Cook until onions and peppers are soft.

2. Add turmeric, mustard, curry powder and cook for a minute. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.

3. Add potatoes, chicken stock, chicken, salt, pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium to simmer. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

4. Top with chopped cilantro.

Advertisements

Tomato, tomahto, say soup that’s squisito!

 

I say to-ma-to, you say to-mah-to.

But when the soup’s simmering, we agree. Homemade is the way to go!

When the chips are down and you’re feeling blue … when winter’s chill your bones bores through … when you’re dragged down by a cold or flu … hot tomato soup is what to do!

Like chicken noodle, tomato soup is a consummerate comfort food. Paired with a toasted cheese sandwich, does soothing the heart and keeping meat on the bones get much better on a chilly night?

I’m a big fan of tomato soup. Campbell’s rocks! However, am not a fan of the high sugar content. (Actually, have never understood why Campell’s adds so much sugar to its tomato soup save to satisfy the American palate that equates sugar with flavor. Sad.)

So I searched around and found a simple yet so satisfying Roasted Tomato Soup sans sugar on Food Network.

Let’s get cookin’!

1. As luck had it, there were already 2 pounds of cherry tomatoes from Costco in the fridge. They hadn’t made it into salads or smoothies as planned and the skins were beginning to crinkle — the perfect excuse and use for a soup

2 pounds of aging cherry tomatoes

2. Each tomato is sliced in half and laid in a roasting pan coated on the bottom with parchment paper. Foil would also do. Good thing I love to cook cuz slicin’ 2 pounds of little tomatoes gets, well, a little tedious! 🙂

3. On top of the tomatoes are slices of 1 medium white onion. And I weep like a little girl who just lost her best friend.

4. Plus 6 cloves of garlic, peeled. No need to chop. Spot a clove at knife tip?

tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil. salt and pepper. Simple!

Continue reading

A Lickety-Split (Peas) Soup? Yes Please!

Sure, there’s the cold … the long dark nights … turning on the furnace for the first time … the hibernation.

Yet, for me, it’s when the hearty homemade soup appears on the scene that winter c’est arrivé.

No winter soup arrives before its time. For that timing, I trust my biology, my gut, knowingness, intuition. I trust my bones, my inner farmer’s almanac, the flow of the seasons.

That first pot of a hearty soup — invariably split pea or lentil with a ham bone, the all-important, all-imperative, integral ham bone — announces:

Yes. The corner from autumn into winter is turned.

I eat foods and drink craft ales with the season. That’s what you should know about me. For this post. 🙂

Now.

The cold season brings out my inner German hausfrau. Earthy nourishing soups are my strength. Pasta, not at bit! Wasn’t Italian in the last 4 lifetimes, at least!

I do peruse soup recipes online for ideas, inspirations or guidelines for amounts. However, generally I just create by intuition and gut and body needs/cravings.

A couple days ago, the green light went off announcing: “It’s time. You can make the soup now.”

Kinda like being in labor and heading to the hospital only far less painful!

The twist:

It was 9 o’clock at night. I’d eaten little to nothing all day. I needed food. Good food. And I needed it fast.

I’d planned on using the crockpot.

Then I thought again about my mother.

She and I had a fucking toxic relationship. I’ve tons of issues unresolved. I’ll say that straight out.

AND she was a good cook. One of my fondest memories is her making lentil soup from scratch. With the ham bone. Always the ham bone. I remember her stirring the big pot on the stovetop and lentil soup simmering eternally, seemingly.

I didn’t want leftovers or to freeze half a batch. I get bored eating the same foods, even a yummy soup, after three days.

So my aim: Three Days of Soup. Starting Now.

Now to the meat of the matter.

A. My soups always begin with Better than Bouillon. A genuine chicken stock in a jar. (There’s also a beef.) I could rave forever about the product! I shall n-e-v-e-r return to bouillon salt cubes.

My super soup starter

My super soup starter

B. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add a heaping tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon chicken base.

C. Five simple ingredients plus spices. That’s all it took for my Easy-Peasy Split Pea Soup.

Five simple ingredients plus spices

Five simple ingredients plus spices

1. 1/2 pound of dried split peas. Typically half a bag. Or 1 cup. Note: **Split peas do not need to be soaked.**

2. 2 celery stalks, diced.

3. 2 carrots, diced.

4. 1/2 large white onion, diced. Guesstimate 1 cup. I loooove onion so am generous with the root vegetable. If you’re not, dice to taste.

5. 1 pound ham hocks. Mine were smoked. Use less (or none) to taste.

6. 2 bay leaves, salt, pepper.

Slide all into the pan with 5 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for around 90 minutes.

easy split pea soup  ready to roll

easy split pea soup
ready to roll

Check and stir often. Split peas absorb water as they cook and thicken into a paste. So do keep an eye on the water and replenish accordingly. Cook until the peas turn soft. Don’t be mislead into thinking that they’re cooked just because the mixture’s thick.

Some folks prefer pea soup the consistency of white school paste. Not I. I like a slightly-watery thick. So around 2-3 cups of water added intermittently achieved desired consistency.

D. My Easy-Peasy Split Peas-y Soup was infused with a nice hammy smokey salty flavor. So bear that in mind when you add seasonings before cooking.

Normally I slice hock meat into the soup. However, mine were rich in flavor and fat that I decided to instead use them for a second batch. Soon, very soon.

EZ split pea soup

EZ split pea soup

E. Partnered with a grilled cheese, a nourishing and warming supper that’s lickety-split (peas) too!

Easy split pea soup + grilled cheese = easy supper

Easy split pea soup + grilled cheese = easy supper