How do you make potato soup?
First, fill a 5-quart stock pot about halfway with cold tap
water. Add a tray of ice cubes to get it nice and cold. Peel
potatoes (I'd start with 8-10 medium-sized, and adjust as needed),
dropping each one into the cold water in your stock pot immediately
after peeling to keep it from turning brown. After peeling, cut up
your potatoes into about 1-inch cubes, returning the cubed potatoes
immediately to the stock pot. You will need enough cubed potatoes
to fill your stock pot about 2/3 full. If the potatoes start piling
up above the top of the water, add more water to keep them covered.
When you have enough potatoes, pour the water out of the stock pot,
refill it with cold tap water, and rinse, repeating as necessary to
remove all the dirst, dust, peels, etc. When clean, put enough cold
tap water back in the pot to again cover the potatoes, and add
another tray of ice to keep them cold so they won't turn brown
while you're performing the next step.
Then sautee some celery and onions in butter or margarine in a skillet. For a 5-quart stock pot, you will need maybe 3-4 celery stalks and a whole medium-sized onion (or half a large onion). It's really a matter of your own personal taste, so feel free to experiment with this. I like to put the celery in the skillet first and let it sautee for a couple of minutes before I put the onions in. Celery is tougher and requires more time to soften up. You don't have to get the celery and onions completely translucent - the soup is going to simmer for a while, and this will help soften them up more. If you sautee them too long in the beginning, they will completely disintegrate by the time the soup is done.
When the celery and onions are done, drain the water off of your potatoes, removing any unmelted ice cubes as well. Then pour in enough cold milk to cover the potatoes. You can use 2% milk if you want, but the soup won't be as rich as if you use whole milk. I wouldn't use 1% or skim milk. Then add a whole stick of butter or margarine (you can cut it up if you want it to melt more quickly) and one can of Cream of Celery Soup (I use the cheap brand, not Campbells). Stir to incorporate the Cream of Celery Soup into the milk. At this time, you can also add salt and black pepper. But be careful. A little salt goes a long way if you use it early in the cooking. And for pepper, there's nothing like fresh-ground. I used to think people who ground their own pepper were snobs, but since I tried it, I'll never go back to pre-ground pepper. Just buy yourself a cheap pepper mill and a jar of whole peppercorns and see for yourself. If you can adjust your pepper mill, set it to finest grind possible.
Put the stock pot on a burner over medium-high heat. Slowly heat to boiling, stirring often, almost constantly. The frequency and method of stirring are very important here. Use a flat wooden spatula to scrape the bottom as you stir, and be sure to get a lot of vertical mixing as you stir. Unlike water, milk can burn, and if it does, your soup is ruined. So you have to keep moving the milk on the bottom of the pot. If you start scraping up solid stuff on the bottom of your pot, the milk is starting to burn. But as long as the solid stuff is still white, or nearly white, you're okay. Just turn down the heat a little. If you start scraping brown stuff off the bottom of your pot, the milk is burnt, and you'll have to start over.
Once the pot comes to a boil (it doesn't have to be a rolling boil, but more than a few bubbles here and there), turn the heat down to medium-low and let it simmer, uncovered. Stir FREQUENTLY, every five minutes or less. Again, make sure you scrape the bottom of your pot and mix the soup vertically. If it drops below a simmer, you need to turn the heat up. But not too high. Just enough to maintain the simmer. If it gets above a simmer, turn the heat down.
You want to boil this until the potatoes are well cooked and starting to fall apart, but not completely disintegrated. This may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. The starch from the potatoes will make the soup thicker, and the thicker it gets, the more likely you are to burn it, so stirring remains very important. The starch will try to settle on the bottom, and it will burn quickly down there, so keep scraping and stirring, and carefully watching your simmer, and adjusting the heat as necessary. If you ever scrape up brown stuff, it's ruined.
At some point, the soup might become too thick for you to keep it from burning. If this happens, you will need to stir in more liquid. However, you should NEVER add more milk after the initial filling of the pot with milk. The added milk will scorch immediately in the hot soup and it will be ruined. If you need to add more liquid, use water.
When the soup is done, remove it from the burner and let it cool for at least 10 minutes (maybe even 20), stirring occasionally to help it cool more quickly. You want to serve it hot, but not molten-lava-hot. Serve in a bowl, with bacon and or cheese if desired. After leftover soup has cooled to room temperature, or nearly so, it can be refrigerated in a lidded plastic container. In the refrigerator, the soup will get much thicker, perhaps even solidifying. When reheating, you can add more milk to thin it down, but only BEFORE you put the pot on the burner. And stirring is still very important. I don't recommend microwaving leftover potato soup. The heating is too uneven in a microwave and the soup is too thick to adequately distribute the heat through the soup. You'll end up with one spoonful hot enough to scald your mouth, and the next spoonful ice-cold.
There are different ways to make potato soup. It all depends what you want to have in it!
This is a basic recipe that also uses stock.
(For potato soup without stock, see recipe in Related links below)
900ml stock (already made, or make using stock cubes or stock powder)
120ml creamy milk
# First catch some potatoes (maybe three or four)
# Wash and peel them, dice into small (5mm) chunks. This makes them cook quicker.
# Cut the onions into small (5 mm) bits
# Get a big saucepan, melt the butter in it until it (the butter!) starts to bubble.
# Put the potatoes and onions in the saucepan and stir around so that everything is covered with butter # Add seasoning to taste - e.g. salt and ground pepper. (You might need somewhere between half and one teaspoonful of salt) # Cover the saucepan and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes While it is simmering, make up some stock, perhaps chicken or vegetable. If you use a stock cube or a stock powder, this will only take a few minutes. (Alternatively, use home-made stock, but this could take a couple of hours to prepare, so obviously you'll need to have this on hand before you start making the potato soup!)
8. Bring the stock to the boil.
9. When the potatoes and onions have softened, but before they start changing color, pour the stock onto them, and continue cooking for a further 10-15 minutes or until all the vegetables are quite soft.
10. Add the milk
11. Mix everything with a blender or in a food processor until you have a nice purée.
12. Taste, and season to taste.
13. Serve with small sprinkling of freshly chopped herbs.
For other recipes, see Related links below.