Saturday, January 14, 2012

Potato Soup

The weather has gotten unbearably cold and that almost always means soup. I am new to cooking, so my soup-repertoire is a little small. Since I didn't want to eat leftover chili for three meals in a row, I thought I'd work on my potato soup recipe.

Well… it's not exactly my recipe. I did steal it off the internet. I made it really interesting though, by adding cream cheese, garlic, and Italian seasoning.

The recipe is rather simple:

Saute vegetables for the base (I use onions, celery, radishes, and carrot) in butter, in a large stock pot. Add chopped potatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning (I make that myself too!), and enough chicken broth and cover the potatoes; bring to a boil then cook, covered, until potatoes are softened.

Add butter, cream cheese, and milk and mash potatoes. Today, I served my soup with delicious Italian bread and shaved parmesan cheese.

I like this soup a little chunky, so I don't smash the potatoes completely. The first time I made it too thin so I thickened it up some with some instant potato flakes; the last time I made it far too thick and it was more like mashed potatoes than soup. I think it's a good idea to have a little extra chicken broth on hand to thin it out when necessary. The nice thing about this soup is you don't ruin the flavour by experimenting with consistency, so it's easy to make adjustments at the last minute without having to throw the whole batch away.

Snow is in the forecast, so today was a great day for chunky potato soup and a fire.

Tomorrow's menu consists of pork roast and some kind of yummy vegetable, and then I'll have enough leftovers to feed myself for the entire week!

Experiments in chili

I tried this chili recipe last night, with a couple variations: dried navy beans and 13-bean combination (because I'm a sucker for not using shit that comes in cans); I also used about half a can of tomato sauce, and chopped tomato instead of canned tomato. I'm pretty sure that using the tomato sauce made it a little less 'clean-eating' than the original recipe called for, but I was happy with the results.

What I learned: the beans I used needed to soak a lot longer than I thought. I boiled the beans for two minutes then let them soak for an hour; by the time I used them in the chili (several hours later), many of them were still rather hard and crunchy.

Apart from that, I'd call the chili mostly-successful. This is only the second chili recipe I've made (first recipe courtesy of Bunny, who is quite possibly the best cook I know after my mama) and I'm looking forward to improving it.

Next on my list of experiments: marinara sauce, because pasta is proof of the existence of god as far as I'm concerned.

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