Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stuffed Potato Soup Bar ala Searching For Spice


You are going to have to really squint to see it, but I was inspired to make this soup from a post I saw on Stuffed Jacket Potatoes by Searching for Spice.

Click the Photo to see the Original
Post, Stuffed Jacket Potatoes
How I got from this (photo to the left is from Corina's original post, Stuffed Jacket Potatoes (click the blue letters or the photo to see her post)) is a very long story, but the short version... I wanted soup.

But look at all that's in Corina's potato... Bacon (you knew I was drawn to that), Green Onions, cheese and more creaminess with cream cheese!  Her's is the dish made famous in bars and pubs.

My version is just right for a cold Fall day.


And with just a little imagination, your jacket potatoes, turned into a soup, can be turned into a fun little party with a soup toppings bar!

Green Onions
Parsley
BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON, BACON
(I Like bacon)
Asparagus
Red Onions
Blue Cheese Crumbles

This is what I had for my party... Anything I left out?

But, I am ahead of myself..  First, the soup...

Well, first the reason I wanted soup more than Corina's perfectly fine jacket potatoes...

I OWN A ROBO-STIR!  As seen on TV, set it and return and your soup is done!

Well, not exactly.  But, set it, do some other prep work and take a look at it every few minutes, continue slicing and dicing come back, take a look, go back to the cutting board, come back, stir the pan just a bit, finish peeling and cutting the potatoes, dicing an onion and your have a roux.

A roux is a wonderful things for a soup.  They add a rich nutty aroma, another layer of complex tastes that make your soup just a tad better.  A roux also works as a thickening agent.  They are easy to make, but time consuming and labor intensive.  Once a roux is started, best not to leave the stove at all.  A Roux is equal parts fat (oil or butter is most common, butter works best if you are going to use this to thicken a soup.  Oil is fine if you want a thinner end product), slow cooked until it darkens and starts to smell nutty.  The key to a roux is to constantly stir.  It takes about 10 minutes to get a really quality roux, stirring constantly.  Like I said, labor intensive.

So, a corn starch slurry has been used in many home soups to thicken them up.  Loosing that incredible extra smell and taste that only an authentic roux adds.

So, recipe is coming, but here's a video of my ROBO-STIR in action.  Feel free to fast forward.  I did do a bit of mixing by hand, but for the most part, my new little buddy did all the work.  Just to make it more entertaining, I turned my iPod up so you could hear Thriller (Michael Jackson).  During the time it took me to make the video, I was able to peel 7 potatoes, dice a whole onion and dance to the infectious rhythm of the 1st truly great music video!

Sure, I had to get it started, but really, it was a terrific time saver!



Now, I was able to find this at a garage sale for $1.  They sell on TV for $20.  I am not sure I believe the commercial (OK, I am sure I do not).  I would never use this for a thick stew or heavy soup (like this became).  But, for a roux, with supervision, it is a time saver!

Alright, let's get to the soup recipe... THICK and creamy, with lots of cheese.  I love this soup.  Now, normally I do not peal my potatoes.  Lots of nutrients and good stuff (not to mention fiber, i am old, I need my fiber) in the peels.  But, for a potato soup, unless you want a brown icky color, you need to peel them.  Again, making this for just me, or just me and Jackie, I would probably leave the peels on.  But, for the potato soup bar party, naked taters.

For the Roux...
4 TBS Butter
4 TBS Flour

For the Soup
1 medium size Sweet Onion, small dice
7 medium size Russet Potatoes, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Heavy Cream
8 ounces good melting Cheese (I used a White Cheddar), shredded
8 ounces Sour Cream
2 TBS "Not Your grandmother's Herbes de Provence",
Can substitute a fresh herb mix of your choice

For the "Bar"
1/2 pound Bacon, diced
1 pound of Asparagus, about 3 inches of the tips, then cut each into 1 inch bits, save a few whole pieces as garnish
Green Onions, sliced thin, white and green bits
Minced Parsley
1/2 Red Onion, diced
And I had a bit of Blue Cheese that was going to go bad in a week or so.  This was perfect to use that up!

Spice Mixes I Love!OK, first, as usual, a note about my Herb mix...

"Not Your grandmother's Herbes de Provence" is my own mix of Mediterranean herbs and spices.  I make a batch every month or so, and use it in LOTS of things.

Feel free to substitute your own favorite herbs, like dill for this.  Or make your own combinations, like dill, garlic and rosemary.  But if you want to be lazy, just make a batch of this, use it often and really spice up your life.


As to the Soup...

  • First, make a roux...  Melt the butter over even, low heat.  Add the flour slowly and stir CONSTANTLY.  Do not let it burn.  After about 10 minutes, you will see the roux darken and smell a delicious nutty aroma.  For this soup, because I wanted it as white as possible, I stopped the cooking process after about 7 minutes.  I got the delicious odor, and the roux did darken a bit.  The longer you cook a roux, the darker it would get (and richer flavor).  But, for this, I wanted a light colored roux.
  • Once you have the roux as you like, add the onions and stir.  At first, the roux will coat the onions, but gradually, the liquid texture returns.  Stir occasionally for about ten minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Move the onion roux to a large soup pot.  Add the chicken stock and heat to gentle boil.
  • Add the potatoes and the "Not Your grandmother's Herbes de Provence".
  • Allow to simmer gently for 1 hour.  Then add the cream, Sour Cream, and cheese.  Return to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • While this is simmering, dice the bacon and fry until crisp.
  • Remove the bacon and allow to drain.  Add the asparagus to the bacon fat and fry for a few minutes.  Not too long, you still want the asparagus to have a bite to it.
  • Remove the asparagus and fry the red onion in the bacon fat for a few minutes.
  • Set up your potato soup bar with bowls of treats, ladle the soup and pick your favorite toppings!



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So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

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5 comments:

  1. I love how you've adapted this into a soup! And thanks for promoting my blog. I'm not managing to do a lot of cooking at the moment but hopefully will be able to get back into it next month.

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  2. What an original idea:) Love it;))

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  3. Yum! Last week was perfect soup weather! This looks so yummy.

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  4. Mmmmmmm....what a fabulous soup! Perfect for this autumnal weather that's finally showing up~

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  5. What a wonderful idea......lovely soup.
    Karen

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