I try to make soup at least one night a week, and potato soup is one of my favorites. It is dead simple to make, either in the slow cooker or on the stovetop if pressed for time, and it can be varied many ways, depending on what vegetable you add. Potato soup is also extremely satisfying on its own or with a green salad and some homemade bread. Here are some of my favorite ways to make potato soup.
Simple Potato Soup
Yields: 4 servings
Time to make: 30 minutes on the stovetop
- 1 tablespoon butter and/or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced, or 1 garlic clove, sliced (optional)
- 3 medium potatoes, any type, peeled and cut into small cubes
- Another vegetable, such as: 3 carrots, peeled and cut into small cubes; 2 leeks, washed well, trimmed and sliced; 1 head broccoli florets; 1 bunch celery, trimmed and chopped; or 3 tomatoes, chopped (Also see the variations below.)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably warmed; water can be substituted in a pinch, but the soup won’t be as hearty
Heat the butter or oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium. Soften the onion or garlic for a few minutes, if using. Add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. (You may prepare the soup in advance up to this point. Cover, refrigerate for up to 2 days, and reheat before proceeding.) If you like, puree the soup with an immersion blender, or you can serve it chunky-style.
It is nice to garnish this soup with grated cheese or fresh herbs, or swirl in a pat of butter or a dollop of sour cream. You can also add ½ to 1 cup cream, milk or half-and-half after pureeing.
To make this soup in the slow cooker: Put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Add enough of the water or broth to just cover them. Cover and cook on LOW until the potatoes are tender, 5 to 7 hours.
Peas and Watercress Potato Soup: Just before the soup is done, add the leaves and tender stems of 1 bunch of watercress and 1 12-ounce package frozen petite peas, thawed. When done, puree this soup and serve immediately; it will become dull as it sits.
Potato Soup with Sorrel or Spinach: In Step 2, when the potatoes are quite soft, add 2 cups washed, trimmed and roughly chopped sorrel or spinach leaves. Cook for 2 minutes, then serve, or puree, stir in 1 cup heavy cream, and serve hot or cold.