Monday, February 23, 2009

Stretching Your Dollars: Potato Soup 3 Ways

We've had another cold snap here in Baltimore and couldn't think of anything tastier or more comforting than potato soup. In these tough economic times it will also help stretch your budget. I've found three tasty ways to cook potato soup and I'll share my recipes here. Also, The first night's recipe was designed for 6 servings, but the second night, only two. I took the leftovers from the first night and dumped them in with the second night and it was super tasty and gave us two full meals. I served a salad and crusty bread with our soup and our bellies were sufficiently filled. I've used vegetarian tofu sausage in my recipe, but you can use whatever you like from kielbasa to chorizo and with equally tasty results. I used real butter in my recipes, but vegetarian/vegan spread would work just as well. Also, if you don't have heavy cream on hand, evaporated milk works in a pinch. I highly recommend the good stuff though, once in a blue moon isn't likely to destroy your diet or your health. Finally, a stick blender isn't required if you have a blender or a food processor, but as someone who loves to make lots of soup, mine has really saved me a lot of time and aggravation. I have this one and it's been kicking out some heavy duty soups in creamy perfection for many, many moons now.

Here's what I did:

1st Night: Vichyssoise

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

5 leeks (white part only), thinly sliced

4 Cups Chicken stock (veggie stock for my veggie friends)

3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 + 1/2 Cups heavy cream

1 Cup Milk (I used fat free, but soy will also work and make it even creamier tasting)

2 Tbsp chopped chives, or spring onion tops

salt + pepper to taste

In a soup pot cook leeks and butter, sprinkled with salt + pepper, over medium heat until the leeks are soft, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and stock, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and puree your soup using your handy-dandy stick blender, or a blender (in batches). Add 1 cup of cream + 1 cup of milk and return to simmer, stirring occasionally. Vichyssoise should next be chilled, but my family and I like it warm; it's good both ways. If eating warm, let the soup cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the last 1/2 cup of cream, top with chives and enjoy.

Night 2: Potato, Leek, and Tofu Chorizo Soup

2 servings of leftovers from night 1

1/4 tsp cumin seed

1/4 tsp caraway seed

1 Leek, thinkly sliced (white part only)

2 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)

1 russet potato, peeled and diced

1 link of tofu chorizo (or about 4oz of any other smoked sausage)

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, thinly sliced (about two handfuls)

salt+pepper to taste

In a soup pot toast the seeds over medium heat, stirring regularly for about 2 minutes, then remove and set aside. Next, add teh butter and leek and cook until softened, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Next, stir in the broth and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Finally, add the seeds, sausage, cream, salt+pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes. If you have leftover soup from last night, dump it in here. Stir in the spinach just before serving.

Night 3: Potato, Kale, and Tofu Chorizo

1 tofu chorizo link (or about 4 oz of smoked sausage)

2 + 3/4 Cups chicken broth

3/4 lb small red-skinned potatoes, thinly sliced (or if you only have russets, subsitute, but peel and dice)

1 Cup white wine

5 Cups fresh kale leaves, thinly sliced

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

Saute tofu chorizo over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, potatoes, and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add kale and craway seeds and simmer uncovered until potatoes and kale are tender, about 10 minutes more. Season with salt+pepper and Enjoy!

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Chronicling my adventures in proving that less is more. I'll learn to refashion/recycle clothes, prepare gourmet meals using as many natural/basic/raw ingredients as possible. I'll learn to spend less, live more, and reclaim those things that are truly valuable in my life.


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