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"Don't just throw me away!! Eat me, for God's sake!!"

OK, we’ve all been there…you take a peek down into that dark, cool place you stored your last 10 lb bag of potatoes (for only $2.50!) find, and you realize…GASP!!…they aren’t going to make it very much longer!! Hating to chuck out some perfectly good (for now) spuds, you wonder, what on earth am I going to do to use up the rest of these potatoes, and fast??

Here’s a very delicious answer…a very easy, adaptable potato soup recipe that will do nicely as a meal for the evening, and, after that, be very much appreciated in lunch thermoses for the rest of the week. I made it with a nice batch of corn bread muffins for dinner tonight.

I just had this conundrum this evening, and I’ll dictate the recipe as I made it (I had some ham on hand), but the truth is it’s a very versatile cream of potato soup recipe that can just as easily stand on its own…or be equally delicious with bacon instead of ham…or be even more delicious with a bit of cheese and ground meat thrown in for a kind of Cheeseburger Chowder (which is always a hit with the kiddos!)

The important thing is that it will allow you to use up any iffy potatoes you have laying about, and ease your guilty conscious…don’t let the angry potato-with-eyes haunt your nightmares!!

DO NOT delude yourself into thinking (as I have many times before) that you are going to make a fabulous potato side dish for dinner every night for the next three nights to use up that nearing-death bag of Idahos…that’s too much pressure, and I practically guarantee (unless you are a better woman than I, which you may well be!) that you will end up taking out your taters with the trash come garbage night! Instead, make a big ol’ pot of this potato soup, use them all up at once, and say goodbye to food-waste guilt!! All you’ll need are a soup pot and a saucepan for the roux, and perhaps a cutting board to chop everything up on. I didn’t even make a mess tonight creating this!! Hallelujah!

Estimated Total Cost: $3.00 for my batch (remembering I stock up on super-sale prices, and coupon quite a bit!)

“What In The Heck Am I Going To Do With These Potatoes??” Soup

Note: Besides the making of the roux (which I’ll explain in a minute) this is a very simple and adaptable recipe. Feel free to add more potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, seasoning, etc. It’s very hard to screw it up…use your personal tastes as a guide!

Ingredients:

  • approx. 3.5 cups of peeled and diced Idaho or Russet potatoes (more or less will still work, just remember they should be covered with chicken broth when boiling and simmering, so you may have to adjust the amount of that as well)
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped carrots (optional, will add a bit of sweetness)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup diced ham (you could also use bacon or ground meat!)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock (homemade is the bomb!! But a carton or can will do fine!)
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to season (sea salt is best)

Ingredients for the roux:

  • 5 TBS butter (please use REAL butter in this dish, unless you have a health condition that prohibits it! It won’t turn out as nicely!)
  • 5 TBS all purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk (again, I recommend using WHOLE milk for this dish…this is a roux, and low-fat just doesn’t cut it unless there are health issues that warrant it!)

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of your favorite cheese, especially if you’d like to do cheesy potato soup (you can still add the ham!) or if you’d like to substitute ground meat for the ham and do a Cheeseburger Chowder

 

Easy Instructions (Don’t be afraid!):

  1. Hack up every ingredient that calls for cutting/chopping/dicing/etc (this would be potatoes, veggies, pre-cooked ham). Note: If you are using bacon or ground meat, that should be cooked beforehand in a skillet and added after it’s no longer raw! Chuck it all in a soup pot and cover it with the chicken stock. (Remember, if you’ve decided to add more potatoes, ham, etc., you may have to add a bit more stock/broth. That’s fine. Just make sure it’s covered. Bring it up to a BOIL for a minute, and then crank the heat back down to medium (a fast simmer) for about 15 or 20 minutes so everything gets nice and tender. Season to taste with your salt/pepper/etc. now.(If you want to add cheese, the end of this phase would be a good time to melt it in.)
  2. That’s it for the soup pot, now all you have to worry about is making a roux. This is done in a separate skillet, on low to medium-low heat, and a successful roux requires constant stirring, a low temperature, and a little bit of instinct. After the roux is finished you will add it to the soup pot, and the purpose of the roux is to thicken the soup in a most delicious way. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine!!
  3. Start by melting all the butter over med-low heat. Next, add the flour tablespoon by tablespoon while constantly whisking/stirring so the mixture doesn’t burn. You may have to adjust the temperature a few times to get it right. It should be thickening, but not sticking or burning. This is the only tricky part because you DO NOT want to burn your roux. I’ve done it before! If it happens, start fresh, you’ll get it the second time around. Continue stirring this for around a minute.
  4. Next, add your milk sloooooowly. The mixture will probably thin out again, but you eventually want it to thicken back up, so you may have to turn the heat up just a notch. Stir the whole time you’re adding the milk, and keep going (feel the burn!) for around 5 minutes. You’ll know you have it right when the consistency is thick-ish, but there are no lumps. It should be smooth, blonde in color, and thick but not pasty.
  5. That’s about it! Simply add this roux concoction to your pot of soup, and heat through a bit on medium-low while giving everything a good stir!
  6. If you’re like me, some nice cornbread muffins on the side are a must-have, but any kind of bread or biscuit will compliment this hearty soup! Enjoy!!
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