Mashed Potato Soup

It’s entirely possible that the only reason I absolutely love this potato soup (and made it twice in two days…and dream about the day I make it again) is that my taste buds have suffered for so long eating bland and over-salted food for nearly a year.  I really hope that’s not the case.  This soup was magnificent.  It was creamy and chunky.  It was sweet and salty and spicy.  It was everything I dream of in a potato soup.  (well…maybe not everything…there wasn’t any chocolate…

I like soup with chunks.  Vegetable cream soups shouldn’t be blended to within an inch of their lives, resembling more baby food puree than delightfully mashed vegetable soup base.  They should have chunks and bits you can sink your teeth into.  Soup shouldn’t be something that those without teeth could just slurp down without hitting one tastebud.   Soup should be enjoyed.  And I enjoyed this.  A lot.

Unlike most creamy vegetable soup recipes, you won’t find instructions for utilizing your blender or food processor here.    Even if I had access to one – and the electrical outlets to plug one into – I think this soup would be worse off in a blender; I wouldn’t use one.  It needs the unevenness, the rough, rustic quality that mashing provides.  You prepare the boiled potatoes as you would smashed potatoes – with a fork.   I suppose the only thing separating this soup from good smashed potatoes is a whole lot of whole milk.  One could reduce the milk and have a pleasant smashed potato side dish.  Try it.

** UPDATE:  this is absolutely amazing with a fried egg!  Fry one egg, slice into ribbons, mix into the soup and wonder why you never did that before

Smashed Potato Soup

Serves one

3 -4 medium size New Potatoes or (what I have) Irish Potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1.5 Cups whole milk
3 triangles Laughing Cow Cheese (the only cheese I have, sadly.  If you want to use another cheese, feel free to substitute any cheese of your choice – approximately 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
salt, to taste
1 dash chili pepper

Begin by cleaning and peeling the potatoes.  Dice them into 1 inch cubes, as this will cause them to cook faster.   Boil them in a pot of salted water with the minced garlic, minced shallots, parsley and thyme until you can cut them with the edge of a fork.  I like to boil my potatoes with the garlic, onions and other seasonings because I feel it allows the flavor to seep into the potatoes better.  Who knows if it’s really true.

Drain the water and mash the potatoes with the tines of a fork until only a few lumps remain.  You should mash this less than you would for mashed potatoes – lumps are your friend here.   Set aside.

In the same pot that you boiled the potatoes in, melt 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine and add the 1 1/2 Cups of whole milk.  As the milk begins to boil, add the three triangles of Laughing Cow Cheese, cut into small pieces or the 1/2 cup of cheese of your choice (if you’re lucky enough to have a grocery store that stocks cheese, not “cheese product”).  Stir constantly until the cheese melts.  This will take longer for the Laughing Cow cheese triangles as they don’t like to melt.  Be careful not to burn the milk and watch it to make sure it doesn’t boil over (as milk likes to do).

When the cheese has melted, add the mashed potato mixture and stir to combine.  The soup will be very “soupy” right now.  Don’t be concerned.  Bring the milk back to a low boil and stir.  The soup will thicken as it cooks.  Add the nutmeg, black pepper, mustard powder,  salt and chili pepper, stirring to combine.

Enjoy the soup when it has reached your desired thickness.  I like my soup thick enough to hold a spoon on the surface.

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