Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Comfort Food: Light Baked Potato Soup

I had leftover potatoes from the bag I bought to make potato chips, so I had to figure out what to do with some more of the potatoes.  I also bought a head of cauliflower to roast for our veggie bowls, but at the last minute I decided that I didn't want cauliflower in them, so it was still lingering in the crisper drawer.  So I looked through my bookmarked recipes to find something appropriate and re-discovered a few recipes for lighter baked potato soup that use blended cauliflower instead of dairy to make the soup thick and rich.  Perfect!  I love the baked potato soups you get in a restaurant, the creamy texture is so warm and comforting.



I combined about four recipes into one, but this version of Baked Potato Soup is the one that is closest to what I made.   What I made last night had too much onion (about 1 cup), it was overpowering, so the recipe below is what I would make next time with a reduced amount.  Also, I used only about half of the head of cauliflower, but there was no reason not to use the whole thing, so the recipe accommodates that as well. 


Ingredients for Baked Potato Soup

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (or a ~16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower)
3-4 Russet baking potatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 T canola oil
3 T minced garlic
3 T flour
salt & pepper
2 14oz cans chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or you could use 1 can of stock and 1 can of milk/evaporated milk for extra creaminess)

shredded cheese
green onion
crushed potato chips

Start the cauliflower florets in a steamer or microwave, steam for 16-18 minutes.  Meanwhile, pierce the potatoes with a fork a few times and cook them in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Flip them over and cook for 5 more minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up your onion and saute it for 5 minutes in the oil in a medium-large pot over medium heat until it's translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Always start your onion before your garlic and let it cook a bit.  When you add the garlic be sure to pay more attention to it, it can burn really quickly.

Add the flour and stir around so it mixes really well with the moisture.  This is another part of what makes the soup thick.  If you want to be gluten-free, use 2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed well into in a bit of the cold stock.  Then add a little bit of the chicken stock and mix well so there are no lumps.  Then add the rest of the chicken stock and salt and pepper. 

When the cauliflower is tender, add it to the pot and use an immersion blender to whiz it up.  I found that my pot was too wide so the liquid wasn't deep enough to make the blender work, so I had to tip it a bit to get it all pureed.

By now hopefully your potatoes are cooled a bit from the microwave, you can take off the peels or leave them as-is.  I took off most of the peels but left some on for fiber and texture.  Cut them into bite-size pieces but don't add them to the pot until after you've whizzed it up unless you want a creamy-without-chunks soup.

At this point it's ready!  Quick and actually pretty easy.  Dish it up and put on your favorite toppings.  Since my version had too much onion, the green onion tops were overkill, but still fun.  I completely forgot about the shredded cheese, but that would be good as well.  And the bacon was a welcome meaty addition with the smoky, salty flavor.  But the best addition was something I never would have come up with if I didn't see the idea elsewhere.... crushed potato chips.  Salty, oily, crispy texture -- so perfect.



As I said, my version was too oniony,  but it was still good.  If I feel inventive next time, I'll try it with some milk/almond milk for more body and creaminess.  And I'm definitely not going to forget the potato chips!  Sonny D liked the taste of mine, but he wouldn't eat his own bowl.  Instead he completely cleaned out his the leftover salmon from the other day. 

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!