Category Archives: soup

Potato Soup

Potato SoupWhat was the first recipe you ever committed to memory?Potato SoupFor me, it was this Potato Soup—my mom’s. It was our traditional pre-church Christmas Eve dinner for our entire childhood. Every year, Mom would make a double batch and serve it with a spinach salad and warm rolls. It was a tradition we all loved and something we remember fondly.

As we got older and were more able to help in the kitchen, it fell to my little sister and me to make the soup (and the Christmas morning breakfast casserole) while Mom worked on other holiday-related tasks. It was fun to help out, and Mom’s Potato Soup is so simple that it wasn’t long before I ceased needing to peek at the recipe card and started making it from memory.Potato SoupSince then, I’ve made Potato Soup for friends, boyfriends, student film shoots, and even once for 125 Hurricane Katrina relief volunteers. My sister doesn’t even particularly like white potatoes,* but she had no problem putting away this soup on Monday night. Everybody—and I mean everybody—loves this soup.

*She also doesn’t like cinnamon rolls and stuffing. Freaking weirdo.Potato SoupIt’s easy to see why. My mom’s recipe is simple and straightforward. There are only seven ingredients (plus salt and pepper), so the flavors of buttery potato, onion, and garlic really shine through. Half-and-half is swapped for the usual heavy cream, so this soup won’t weigh you down either.Potato SoupAll that rich, creamy deliciousness is accented with a sprinkle of celery seed…Potato Soup…and melty cheddar, crispy bacon, and fresh scallions.Potato SoupIt doesn’t get simpler or more delicious than that.Potato Soup

Potato Soup
makes 3-4 servings

2 pounds red potatoes (about 7-8 potatoes)
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large white or Spanish onion, diced small
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

For serving:
shredded cheddar cheese
crispy bacon, crumbled or chopped
sliced scallions

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 people. If you have very hungry people and/or want seconds, double the batch.

Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch chunks (mine were quartered). Place them in a large (6+ quart) heavy-bottomed pot and add stock. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove lid and reduce heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Cook diced onion until translucent (but not brown), about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Set a large strainer over a large heatproof bowl. Pour potatoes & stock through the strainer, reserving stock.

Place potatoes back in the pot. Add onion mixture. Use a potato masher to mash potatoes until no large chunks remain. Stir in reserved stock (about 4 cups). Cover pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot frequently to prevent burning, until thickened a reduced slightly (about 20-30 minutes).

Remove soup from heat. Stir in celery seed and half-and-half, followed by salt and pepper.

Place soup over medium-low heat (do not boil) for 5-7 minutes, just to bring it back to temperature.

Serve soup with cheddar, bacon, and/or scallions, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.Potato SoupPotato Soup

Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de PolloEverybody has a favorite chicken soup recipe—until very recently, the Chicken Noodle Soup in the archives was mine. I still love that soup (I feel less affection for those horrible photos), but now that I’ve started making this Sopa de Pollo, it’s going to have to settle for being my second favorite.

It seems harsh—pushing aside a recipe I’ve loved for years in favor one that I started making on a whim last fall—but my version of this Mexican chicken soup is so easy, healthy, and deeply delicious that I’m only sorry I didn’t find it sooner.

Sopa de PolloThis Sopa de Pollo is adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe. I saw her version a couple of years ago and then totally forgot about it until I was standing in the produce section of the grocery store a couple of months ago with no idea of what I wanted to make for the week. A quick Google search for Mexican-style chicken soup recipes led me back to Molly’s recipe, and now I’ve spent two months tweaking it and serving it as much as possible. Really. I’ve made it twice at my day job, once for my parents, another time for my little sister, and three more times just for me. I may or may not have a whole batch in the freezer right now. That may seem a little extreme for something I just started making a couple of months ago, but it’s just. that. good.

Sopa de Pollo

So, what makes this soup so outstanding? Well, for one, it only takes an hour start-to-finish. If that doesn’t have you putting ingredients on your grocery list, I don’t know what will. Speed isn’t everything though—let’s talk flavor.

Sopa de PolloSopa de Pollo

The broth here is flavored with a 1/2 bunch of whole cilantro sprigs and a handful of fresh mint leaves, in addition to the chicken and a good pinch of salt. The herbs soften and add incredible depth of flavor as they cook. There’s no need to remove them after cooking either, but you absolutely may if you’d like; just tie the herbs together with twine before you drop them into the pot, and lift them out with tongs when you’re done.

Sopa de Pollo

This Sopa de Pollo is chock full of vegetables, too. You’ll find big chunks of carrot, celery, onion, and zucchini in this soup, in addition to crushed whole garlic cloves and chayote. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mild-flavored gourd that looks like this:

Sopa de Pollo

I find chayote at a regular supermarket, but if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, feel free to leave it out. My sisters would tell you to swap it for corn. For that matter, you can add or subtract any vegetables you want here—make the soup you want to eat, y’all!

Sopa de Pollo

Take my favorite and make it yours.Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de Pollo
lightly adapted from Orangette
makes about 6-8 servings

3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (I use chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination)
2 quarts chicken stock
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, diced large
2 medium zucchini, quartered, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 chayote, peeled, seed removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro
leaves from 4 sprigs of mint
Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Combine chicken pieces and stock in a stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, chayote, garlic, cilantro, and mint leaves. Once the soup returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove pot from heat and use tongs to fish out chicken pieces.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones and tear the meat into large pieces. Return meat to the pot. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Serve in shallow bowls. Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sopa de Pollo