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Well, I couldn’t sleep. Woke up at about 4 AM and realized I hadn’t had much dinner last night, long story involving goats, dogs (Levi’s surgery went fine, thanks for asking) and preparations in the expectation of a sleet/ice/snow storm all day Thursday. (There’s already a glaze of ice on the porch steps, as I discovered when I stepped outside to put the dog out and measured my length on the ground immediately thereafter. Ouch). That was the point at which I abandoned the idea of a quick trip to the Giant Eagle to pick up some supplies before “things get bad.” They already are. Even with the weather.
So. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard isn’t quite bare, but there’s not much quick and easy to be found. I’ve always loved potato soup, though (good comfort food on a day like this), and I thought I’d see if I could make that work. Results are surprisingly and spectacularly delicious. Here’s the recipe, before I forget it. (Note that you could add other things. Celery springs to mind. But “springing” was the last thing the remaining two stalks of celery in my fridge were doing yesterday when I threw them in the compost. “Flopping” was more the order of the day. So, no celery for me, this time round.) But you could. Anyway, here we go:
QUICK (AND GOOD) POTATO SOUP
- About 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes. (I had a bag of those tiny bite-size ones, and used them whole and unpeeled. Then I added a large baking-size Russet potato which I peeled and cut into chunks)
- About four strips of thick-sliced bacon (more if you like). If you use less, you might want to add some butter to increase the fat quotient, I should think you want to end up with 3-4 tablespoons of fat. When you take the bacon out of the fridge, chop it into pieces about 3/4″ long, while it’s still cold. Much easier than crumbling it after it’s cooked, I always think.
- One enormous (or two large) onions. Dice fairly small.
- Water. Pace the coal mine, my well’s still functioning. Shhhhhh . . . .
- Chicken stock, or a good bouillon mix. I like “Better than Bouillon.” Mostly real ingredients, not just salt. Tasty.
- About 1 tablespoon dill weed, dried, or a couple of tablespoons fresh. I had dried today.
- Milk, half-and-half, or (today’s discovery, because I’m not terribly well supplied in the milk department at the moment and I didn’t want to use it up right now, because, weather), a can of evaporated milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover until tender but not falling apart (mine took about eight minutes). Drain them.
Fry the bacon on low-ish heat in a medium saucepan (you don’t want to discolor the fat), until it’s crispish. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or something similar.
Dump the finely diced onion into the bacon fat, and fry, again on a low-ish heat until soft but not discolored.
Dump the potatoes in on top of the onion, mash them up a bit, and add enough water/chicken stock to cover. If using water, add in your bouillon cubes/mix of choice here, at full strength according to the instructions on the jar/box.
Let that simmer gently for about ten minutes. (This is why you didn’t cook the potatoes to a mush, the first time).
Add the dill, fresh or dried, more or less, to taste.
Add salt and pepper to taste (the bouillon and bacon will pre-salt, so suggest not going wild on the salt. I added plenty of fresh-ground pepper, though).
This is the genius bit–slosh in some evaporated milk until things look and taste about right. You could use regular milk, but I found the evaporated milk to be tasty and rich. Used about 1/4 of the large (pumpkin pie-size) can. The rest can be put in tea or coffee (as per British World War II, or NAAFI practice), or used in other ways of your choice.
Sprinkle in the reserved bacon (if you can remember where you put it to keep it away from the cat. I hid mine in the oven, I eventually remembered. . . ), and stir.
That’s it. Delicious, steamy, chunky, nourishing, stick-to-your-ribs potato soup. Tastes like yum.
Enjoy! (Don’t you just hate it when the perky little millennial says that just as you’re about to dig into your nice dinner? #MeToo)