Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Potato Soup with a Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

It's yet another meatless Monday; yet another really terrific meal.  Yep, this certified carnivore is enjoying the challenge, but also REALLY enjoying the delicious food.

nutritious, filling, satisfying and yesterday it was important to serve something that warms you to the core.

Soup, on a day where Kansas City was socked in with 6 inches of snow.  When I served this, the news was talking wind chills below zero, wind howling and just a miserable week in the Cul de Sac.

But around our kitchen table, we were snuggly warm inside and out.

6 TBS Butter
6 TBS Flour
Red Onion, small dice
12  medium Russet Potatoes, UNpeeled, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cups Heavy Cream
2 cups Good Melting Cheese, Shredded (I used "provolone")
2 TBS "Not Your grandmother's Herbes de Provence", divided

And I garnished with some sour cream and a bit of shredded Cheddar Cheese.

"Not Your grandmother's Herbes de Provence" is my own mix of Mediterranean herbs and spices.  I make a batch every month or so, and use it in LOTS of things.

Feel free to substitute your own favorite herbs, like dill for this.  Or make your own combinations, like dill, garlic and rosemary.  But if you want to be lazy, just make a batch of this, use it often and really spice up your life.

As to the soup...

  • First, Make a Roux... Melt the butter over low-medium heat, add the flour slowly and stir CONSTANTLY.  Stir for about 10 minutes, CONSTANTLY (do not let it burn).  Suddenly, you will see the mixture begin to darken and you will smell a nutty aroma... Heaven.
  • When you smell the nutty aroma, add the onions and stir every minute for 5 minutes, until the onions become translucent
  • Move the onion roux to a large soup pot.  Add the Chicken Stock and heat to gentle boil
  • Add the potatoes and 2 TBS of the "Not Your grandmother's Herbes de Provence" Spice mix.
  • Allow to simmer for 45 minutes, then add the Cream and Cheese, return to simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
  • If the soup is not thick enough for your tastes, add a slurry of 1 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp milk, stir everything, keeping an eye to thickness.
  • And garnish to taste!
I like LOTS of potato in my potato soup.  No potato rice for me, I cut my potatoes in wedges and then slices about 1/4 inch thick.  Russet potatoes work best as they hold their form (unlike red potatoes that will meld into the liquid).

Now, I have made this in the past. Sometimes I peel the potatoes, sometimes not. If I were serving this to guests at a dinner party and presentation was important, I would peel the taters and have a beautiful white soup...But, My meatless meals are meant to be all about nutritious food.  The peel of a potato has far more nutrients and roughage than the guts.  When you do not cook with the peel (French fries included), you are sending the healthiest part of the dish down the drain.
Vegetable tip #2
The peel!  Actually, for any vegetable.  Do a bit of research.  Some root vegetables are best for you with the peel on.  Some are not.  Either way, find out the healthiest way to fix your veggies and serve them that way.  Your colon will thank you.
But man does not live by soup alone...

I served a toasted cheese sandwich with the soup.  I made a simple Sundried Tomato Pesto, grated some cheddar cheese and served on a couple of slices of Eng Bread (my own version of a sweet French bread).The Sundried tomato peso recipe is very simple.  I had a jar of sundried tomatoes packed in oil.  I just added an equal amount of grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 the amount of ground walnuts.
Warm inside and out.  Now I have to go shovel my walk and dream of the warm leftover soup I'll have afterwards! ...


  1. This sounds great! I love this version of grilled cheese and I bet it went fantastically with the soup!

  2. Please don't hold it against me that I skipped over the soup entirely just to get to more about the sandwich. Talk about your comfort food. I'm doing a happy jig around my office right now but you can't see it.

  3. It was a week for comfort food like this soup/sandwich combo, wasn't it? Little details like homemade bread or stock make a huge difference. I've been making my own stock a lot more this winter, in part from your practice.