Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Diane's Potato-Vegetable Soup

Soup. Thick, thin, hearty or lean - almost everyone has their favorite; hopefully yours is not of the canned variety! Except for an occasional can of tomato soup, my mother always made meal-time soup from scratch and when their fragrances filled the house, I knew dinner would be just what I needed for the end of a cold, winter day.

When I moved away from home, I experimented with all kinds of soup concoctions. I use that word on purpose, for concoctions many of them were. Some were tasty, but most were tepid, watery, unremarkable pots of liquid which were left in the refrigerator until they had to be thrown out.

I could make my mother’s recipes like Ham and Split Pea, Lentil, Egg Drop, Black Bean or Chicken Soup, but I craved to have the talent to throw together this and that and to have it turn into something wonderful.

With years of experience behind me, I understand what it takes to produce a soup worthy of a place at the comfort-food-table.  Diane’s Baked Potato-Vegetable Soup is one I made up and loved the moment I tasted it. It says m-m-m-m-m-m!
Diane's Potato-Vegetable Soup

4-6 russet potatoes
4-5 large carrots, cleaned and sliced in ½-inch chunks
2 sweet onions, diced
¼ C red bell pepper, diced
1 ½ C fresh broccoli, chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
½ C sliced mushrooms
1 15-oz can northern beans
2 C chicken broth
2 tsp Better Than Broth chicken base (found in the bouillon section)
Pepper blend
Garlic powder
Himalayan pink salt
1 Glad Microwave Steaming bag
 Bake potatoes in oven or use a cloth, microwave baking bag and microwave until tender. Set potatoes aside to cool down enough to handle.
 In a large pot, add the chicken broth and turn heat to med-low. Cut potatoes in half cross-wise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and put it in a food processor or Vita Mix blender. Add enough warm broth to potato flesh as it is pureed to a creamy mixture. Add pureed potato to chicken broth in pot. Add enough water to blender carafe and pulse until potato residue is loosened from sides. Pour into pot. Add the 2 tsp of chicken base (bouillon). 
Cut up cleaned, fresh vegetables and divide into 2-cup portions into steaming bag. Seal bag and microwave vegetables following directions (3 min).  Carefully open bag and add vegetables to potato mixture. Continue with remaining vegetables.  Add beans, seasonings and 1 T butter per cup of liquid to pot. Stir and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste.  Continue to simmer 10-15 minutes. Soup will thicken and potatoes will become a rich, flavorful base for this extraordinary winter soup. Remove from heat and serve. 6-8 servings.
 *Optional vegetables: cauliflower, spinach, green onion, leek, green beans, soy beans.