Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mashed Potato Soup

The French have a soup called Vichyssoise, where potatoes and leeks are pureed with cream and chicken stock. It is a very refined (almost snooty) dish that is actually very popular served cold. In Portugal, the most popular soup is called Caldo Verde which, like Vichyssoise, is made with pureed potato, but has other vegetables (like cabbage) and sausage added. This is a soup of the people - hearty and flavorful. I think I have found a way to combine the two styles. I use mashed potatoes instead of puree, since I like the added texture. I also use bacon bits (lardons in French) instead of sausage, but you could probably use any pork product you like!

Ingredients
  • 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 leeks, trimmed, washed, and chopped
  • 4 carrots, washed and diced small
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 pound washed, stemmed, and chopped kale (you could use cabbage or collard greens)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper
  • crispy crumbled bacon
Directions

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan. Add just enough broth to submerge and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 10-20 minutes, or until they are just cooked through, but not mushy or falling apart.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, and onions with one teaspoon kosher salt. Sweat (no browning!) over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the leeks and carrots are softened.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain and reserve the broth. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher. Add to the pot with other softened vegetables along with all 4 cups of broth. Simmer, stirring gently, for 2 minutes or until everything is well integrated. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Add the kale and cook for 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is just cooked (still firm, but not crunchy). Serve with a tablespoon of bacon crumbles on top of each bowl.

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