I think we’ve been friends long enough for me to admit this:
I don’t like potatoes.
Actually, let me rephrase: I like french fries, potato chips and a small dollop of mashed potatoes with a large helping of pot roast and gravy. As for a big ol’ baked potato or beef stew loaded with big chunks of potatoes though? Neh. Me no likey. This doesn’t mean that I still don’t get the hankering for a comforting bowl of potato soup; it just means that my version doesn’t have the consistency of school paste or big chunks of spuds in it. Instead, my potato stoup is smooth and creamy with just enough (surprise!) spinach in it to break up the richness. (Please don’t be afraid that I said “spinach.” You can omit this ingredient if you like, but don’t knock it till you try it!)
Let’s get cooking on this third installment of Stoup Week! (Stoup: a mix between a stew and a soup)
To begin, chop up 10 pieces of raw bacon and cook in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove one-third of the bits and place on a paper towel-lined plate. These will be used for toppings.
Next, drain off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Dice up one small onion and the white parts of 3-4 scallions and add them to the remaining bacon. Saute onions for 5-7 minutes until glossy, stirring occasionally.
While the onions cook, grate up one large Russet potato.
Cook’s Note: If you happen to prefer chunks of potato in your potato stoup, feel free to dice instead of grate.
Add the potato to the pot along with 1-1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, stir and cook for a few minutes to allow the potatoes and the onions to get better acquainted. Next, pour in a can of low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Once the pot is bubbling, stir in 3 cups of whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream or half and half and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until heated through.
Cook’s Note: Now that you’ve added milk to this concoction, don’t walk away from it. Milk tends to boil over or burn along the bottom of the pan so stir often.
Once the contents have been heated through, pull out your handy dandy immersion blender (go get one already!) and puree to your desired consistency. I prefer mine to be smooth as silk, but you may like some chunks. (Isn’t “chunks” such a gross word? I need a thesaurus.)
Cook’s Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, Christmas is just around the corner. In the meantime, puree the stoup in batches in an upright blender.
Time to thicken the stoup! Prepare a slurry by whisking 1/2 cup cold whole milk with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour until smooth. Add to the pot and stir well.
Cook’s Note: Going gluten free? Replace the flour with a tablespoon of cornstarch or skip the slurry altogether and replace it with an additional 1/2 cup heavy cream.
At this time, you can be one of the cool kids by tossing in a couple large handfuls of fresh spinach or roughly a cup of frozen thawed and well-drained spinach. Cook stoup for another 5 minutes to heat through. Again, feel free to change things up. If you want the spinach without the texture, puree it in.
Turn off heat and stir in 1 heaping cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese. Serve up the stoup and top with more cheese, a schprinkling of the reserved bacon bits and a few sliced scallions or chives.
FYI, this dish is delicious hot or cold. How do I know? I didn’t have time to heat up my creamy potato stoup today so I just ate it cold. And it was delicious.
In case you missed Days 1 and 2 of Stoup Week, here they are:
- 10 strips raw bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, small-diced
- 1 large Russet potato, grated or cubed
- 1 14-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 3-1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 heaping cup sharp cheddar, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup thawed, well-drained frozen spinach or 2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced (white parts for soup, green parts for garnish)
- In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove one-third of the bacon and place on a plate lined with paper towels. These will be used to top soup with.
- Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the grease off the remaining bacon. Toss in the onion, salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the onions are glossy, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the grated/cubed potatoes, cook for another 4-5 minutes or until potatoes are softened, stirring occasionally. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and stir in heavy cream and only 3 cups of milk. Cook another 5-7 minutes until stoup is heated through, then puree to desired consistency with an immersion blender or in batches in an upright blender.
- In a small bowl whisk 1/2 cup of flour with the remaining 1/2 cup milk until smooth. Whisk into the soup. Add the spinach and cook stoup another 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Turn off heat and stir in cheddar. Garnish with reserved bacon bits, more cheddar and sliced scallions.