Friday, December 3, 2010

The Soul-Warmer: Potato Soup

Today at Serve At Once, we're gonna kick it old-school. Oh yes. I know you're pumped! 

Let's play a game. It's called "Never Have I Ever Eaten The Same Meal For Five Straight Days And Loved Every Single Bite Of It."

You went to middle school (unfortunately), right? You know how to play "Never Have I Ever." Well, my version is slightly different; it's a bit more...restrictive. You'll see.

Alright, here we go:

"Never have I ever eaten the same meal for five straight days and loved every single bite of it."


I win!


But I guess it helps when you play alone. 

Funny how that works, isn't it?

So now it's time to sit on the carpet (did everyone else's Kindergarten sit on carpets?) for story time: 

I love meals that are eaten out of bowls. I do not know why this is; perhaps because sitting down with a bowl of soup, stew, or chili reminds me of being at home--sitting in front of a warm fire with a bowl of soup is something that gives me the warm fuzzies. You can't eat soup on the road; I don't care how cool you think you are, but even if you can balance a bowl on your lap or a cup between your legs and hold a spoon and check your rearviews and your blind spot and steer the wheel...YOU'RE PROBABLY GOING TO CRASH. And you're not savoring your soup, which is probably an even worse event.

Digression. It makes the world go round.

ANYWAY, let's back this story up about ten years: my mother has four children to feed from ages fourteen to two years, and she's desperately searching for something that, miraculously, all four of us would like. Desperation drives people to do strange things; the same holds true for my mother (Sorry, Mom--just keepin' it real). To this day, I do not know how on earth this piece of literature ever drifted into our house, but Mom decided she would look in this tiny circa 1985 Kinkos cookbook of the ladies of some senior club in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Someday I will post a picture of this holy relic. And we shall make a pilgrimage. This recipe is that important to my life. 

And so my mother observes that all of us American offspring, surprisingly, love potatoes, and there was a seemingly easy potato soup recipe from a woman named Marilyn Wingfield that Mom felt confident enough to try.

Marilyn Wingfield, you have changed my life. Thank you for feeding me for so many days of my life. I will never forget your name, even though I've adapted your recipe to my tastebuds. 

This soup is unbelievably creamy, and it's so versatile. I'm giving you the backbone of the recipe so that you can make it your own. Saute some carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cheddar would be a lovely addition to this, so you could add a cup or two to the pot. And let's not forget our dear friend, bacon, who makes every dish he meets very, very special.

If this doesn't combat your winter blues, I don't know what will. 

Creamy Potato Soup (serves 10-12)

  • 4-5 lbs. russet potatoes (about 8-10 potatoes), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 10 oz. can cream of celery soup
  • 1 10 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • milk, to thin as desired

In a dutch oven or a large saucepan (at least a 4qt.--preferably a 6qt. for ample room), boil potatoes and onions til fork-tender. DO NOT DRAIN THE WATER. Add cubes of cream cheese to the mixture and stir until the cheese melts. To this mixture, add creamy soups. Then add garlic powder, salt, pepper, and milk, to taste. Serve up the bowls, and greedily devour.

Be sure to frequently stir the potatoes as they boil so they won't stick to the bottom of your pan.

**I am a college student, so I don't have much disposable income. This recipe is one of the cheapest, tastiest things I can make for myself, as it's only about $5 for six quarts; I have eaten it for five straight days and not gotten tired of it. Take THAT, rice and beans!

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