When the weather turned a bit cool and rainy last week this was the perfect supper to cap off a day spent outside, busy with late summer/early fall tasks. Iris that had gotten completely out of control were dug and separated, some to be replanted in the bed, some to give away, some to be banished far away from the yard. Salvia, although tough and pretty, had spread out into a big chunk of the garden, so it was all dug out to be replaced by something less aggressive. Then I got my husband to take the tiller down to the end of our driveway and till up a 20 foot length of sod. Iris and salvia can do their thing down there.
Nothing fancy to buy for this soup. The ingredients are all items I keep on hand. Using homemade chicken stock is the best, even better if it happens to be made from smoked chicken. Yukon gold are my preferred potatoes for most dishes. Onions are always on hand here, but if you can find nice big leeks use those instead. Shred 2 cups of your favorite melting cheese – smoked gouda or provolone are good, but usually we use a cheddar-jack blend. Potatoes provide a mild base for other flavors, especially smoked, grilled or spicy foods, so experiment a little. Try adding smoked or grilled meat like chicken, ham, chunks of cooked sausage, maybe some adobo or chopped chiles.
– Joan, 13 September 2019
Potato cheese soup
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large onion or 3 leeks, chopped (use light green part of leeks too)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1-2 tablespoons roasted garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 8 slices bacon, fried till crispy, rendered fat reserved
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 2 cups meltable cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Fry the bacon till crispy and set aside. Use 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat to sauté the celery and onion or leeks until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Add potatoes. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork, 20-25 minutes. Remove about half of the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Soften the cream cheese in a microwave 30-45 seconds. Scrape into the soup. Use a hand blender to blend the soup in the pot till smooth, then add milk and reserved potatoes. Add any additional ingredients such as meat or chiles now. When the milk has heated, stir in cheese till completely melted and smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with crumbled bacon. Also good topped with a spoonful of sour cream and snipped chives.