Category Archives: Soup

Potato Soup with the Works

Last night, I needed a meal that would be quick to eat, without a lot of dishes, because the husband and I wanted to go out furniture shopping as soon as we possibly could.  What’s quicker to eat than soup?  Maybe a sandwich… but I really wanted soup. 

I browsed through practically a million cookbooks, before spying Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book.  A few years ago, I was really into Rachael, but a lot of her recipes use a lot of dishes… which aren’t so fun.  But she has fantastic, enjoyable recipes and a lot of them taste AMAZING!

I found the recipe for Potato Soup with the Works.  Um…. yum!  That sounds incredible!  And as my husband says “how can you go wrong with sour cream and bacon?”  I would have to agree.

The original recipe called for 4 leeks, white parts only, chopped.  I substituted 1 whole white onion, chopped.  It’s  a lot cheaper, plus easier to work with, as you don’t have to wash all of the grit out of the leeks.  Sometimes I do cook with leeks, but today, I just didn’t feel like it.

Potato Soup with the Works
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book
Serves 4-6

8 slices bacon, chopped
1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp. paprika, plus extra for garnish
Salt and pepper
4 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken stock
A dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese,  for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the cooked bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve.

Add the onions and garlic to the bacon fat and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the thyme, paprika, and salt and pepper, then add the potatoes and stock to the pot and bring up to a bubble over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through 8 to 10 minutes.    When the potatoes are tender, use an immersion blender (or food processor, or blender) to puree the soup until smooth.

Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and hot sauce, if desired.  Serve the soup in a bowl topped with cheese, bacon, green onions, sour cream and a dash of paprika.

So yummy!
The Hungry Teacher

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Minestrone

Every Wednesday we share a staff lunch.  Everybody takes a turn bringing lunch.  Now, it’s always a challenge to think up a good lunch to bring.   You have to come up with a creative lunch that will feed about 10 people, and that can be cooked without a lot of attention (we still have to teach kids during that time!).

Today I made minestrone.  Minestrone is an Italian soup that is used to basically clean out the fridge!  It has a bit of everything in it!  It is a great soup for a cold night in January.  My soup is not authentic because it has sausage in it.  You do not need to add sausage in the soup, but it really adds a lot of spicy, meaty flavour. You can add any type of pasta that is broken into small pieces. 

I used mostly frozen and canned vegetables in my soup today.  They have good flavour, as they are preserved at their peak in the season.  Obviously, it would be better to use fresh, in season veggies, but as it’s January, frozen and canned are good.

When you buy Parmesan cheese, it has a rind on it (unless you buy the kind in the can.  Please don’t.  Buy fresh, and grate it yourself!).  You can add this rind to minestrone and remove it before serving the soup.  The rind adds a lot of rich flavour to the soup.  I forgot to bring some Parmesan to school today as a garnish, but it is delicious on top of the soup.

Now, when I got home, I had to put the leftover minestrone into plastic containers for lunch tomorrow.  When I was opening the cupboards, I learned why you should always secure packages shut…

Yes, I dumped a whole package of spaghetti on the floor.  It is quite a nice modern art sculpture though.  I may be on to something…

Minestrone
adapted from Company’s Coming Garden Greens
makes about 12 cups

500g pkg Italian sausages, casings removed (either hot or mild, depending on your taste)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. can diced tomatoes (can also use fresh tomatoes)
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup very small pasta
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
10 0z box frozen chopped spinach (can also use fresh)
1-1/2 cups chopped green beans (I used frozen)
1 cup frozen peas

Cook sausages in a medium frying pan on medium heat  until browned.  Break up sausages as they cook into small pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium-low.  Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic.  Cook for about 10 minutes, until onion is tender.

Add sausage and tomatoes, chicken broth, pasta, sugar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add spinach, beans and peas.  Heat and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until everything is warmed through.

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pesto.  Yum!

Have a great night!
The Hungry Teacher

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Filed under Dinner, Soup