Saturday, 3 December 2011

Cream of potato, garlic, bacon soup… only not

I like to write, but often get sidetracked with life (read: Facebook). One of my failed projects is a cooking blog that was supposed to be a joint effort with my roommates. In theory, the three of us working together would ensure the blog would continue on forever and be regularly updated. Yeah... notsomuch. Do 4 posts, including the intro, count? No? Sigh. I know.

Well, in the interest of recycling amazing recipes that I think everyone in the world ever should be interested in, here's the first (of 3) reposts and updates of the doomed The FABulous Kitchen project.


In this house we have 1 person with vegan tendencies and one person who is lactose intolerant.  So, naturally, we decided to make cream of potato bacon soup.  Kind of. Originally we had wanted to make my famous “cream” of potato, garlic, dill soup, only to find we had no dill. Since we had some fakin’ bacon bits kickin’ around and yesterday I was commiserating over my unrequited love for cream of potato bacon soup (I’m the veganesque one), it seemed an appropriate substitute.
Now, we’re not really the sort that measures things exactly, and we REALLY like our garlic, so I hope you’re savvy enough to be able to determine for yourself what the appropriate portions would be.
Ingredients?
  • 6 russet potatoes
  • 1 bulb of garlic (seriously, garlic is mentioned in the name of this recipe for a reason)
  • 1 large cooking onion
  • dried, sliced garlic
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 1/4 cup fakin' bacon bits
  • 2 chopped and seeded Thai chilis
  • 1 carton of unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • salt & pepper to taste

Step One:
Prep the potatoes.
We washed and cleaned about 6 baking (Russet) potatoes, then cubed them. I’ve used baby white and red potatoes before, and they’re really good, too. We leave the skins on because we enjoy the texture and colour it adds.
After we dice the potatoes, we put them in a bowl with water to get rid of the starch and so they don’t brown if we don’t chop them right before we put them in the pot. Which we probably won’t. Because wine is involved.
Step Two:
Roasting the garlic.
There is no such thing as “too much garlic” in my vernacular, so if I’m going to roast some, I roast at leastone bulb at a time. We cut the top off of a bulb of garlic, place it in a square of aluminum foil, and top it with olive oil. Then, we wrap it up like a little gift, so that the oil doesn’t escape, toss them on the rack of an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees fahrenheit, and leave them to become awesome for about half an hour (checking occasionally, because I’m bad with timing).
Step Three:
The onions.
If there’s anything I love more than garlic, it’s onions. So we diced one large cooking onion, added it to a pot that had already heated up to medium with some olive oil in the bottom and cooked them until translucent.
Step Four:
Add the potatoes and seasonings.
After rinsing and drying the potatoes (we don’t want to add a bunch more water), we toss them in with the onions in the same pot and stir them up with a dash more olive oil.
Then we added some dried, sliced garlic, as well as the entire bulb of roasted garlic. I find that the roasted garlic adds depth to the flavour, but doesn’t make it garlicy enough, which is why the dried, sliced garlic helps.
Then… the fakin’ bacon bits. About a quarter cup should be more than sufficient. The brand doesn’t really matter, in my opinion. I’m willing to be proven wrong, but I haven’t found a bad brand of soy bacon-esque bits to this point.
To add a bit of kick, we decided to add two chopped and de-seeded thai chilis.
A dash of salt is necessary. Maybe more. This is definitely to taste, but since it’s at the beginning of the process, you’ll need to check later on as well and perhaps adjust again.
Step Five:
It’s soup time.
Now, I like my soup thick, so I don’t mess around with stocks and such, I just put in enough soy milk to cover the potatoes. For the love of all that is good and holy, please make sure you 1) don’t accidentally use flavoured soy milk, like vanilla, or 2) use low-fat soymilk. Low-fat soymilk is the equivalent of diluting skim milk with sadness and despair. It’s not right on its own, and it’s especially inappropriate when trying to make a cream soup.
Last but not least, we add a dash of pepper on top, stir, and let the magic happen.
Step Six:
Adjusting the thickness and flavours.
Since this is a potato soup, you don’t need to add flour or anything as a thickener. After the potatoes have had some time to cook and become soft, use a masher to, well, mash some of them. You could always toss some of it in the blender, but we don’t have a blender, yet, and I find this to be a little too much work. Just mash the life out of about half of them and it’ll thicken on its own.
By the nature of potatoes, they tend to soak up a lot of flavour, and so this is a good time to taste and see if you need to make any adjustments. We found it needed some more sea salt, and a little something… else. We decided that that something else was dried chives. You may have other ideas, so go with it.
Step Seven:
Check. And eat.
If it seems thick enough and tasty enough, stop tormenting youself with the delicious smells and eat it. As with all soups, this tastes best on the second day, but I sincerely wish you luck on waiting that long. This soup rarely makes it to the second day.
Soup!

You see that sexy piece of bread on the side of the bowl? I also made that, using this recipe:
My one critique - leave the bread to rise for at least 8 hours, otherwise it won't be nearly so luscious.
Bock.

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