As almost everyone who lives in America will know, this last winter has been really bad, especially in the north and north-east of the country. Every week from before Christmas until late March brought one or more snow- or ice storms. Even just last week Maine got almost a foot of snow!
So, it's been weather for soup.
Potato Leek Soup
So far as we're concerned, there is no better that Alton Brown's Potato Leek Soup.This soup uses equal weights of leeks and potatoes, mixing them with cream, buttermilk, and white pepper, to make an ivory-coloured creamy-smooth soup.
We've also found that the cream-buttermilk mix doesn't affect my wife much, whereas she is very lactose-intolerant with milk - we drink soy milk with our cereal in the mornings!
I've used onions in place of the leeks (weight-for-weight) and found that the onions certainly don't overwhelm the mix, so Potato Onion Soup is a good replacement at times when leeks aren't available.
Officially this is "day-old split-pea soup"; the name and recipe come from The Netherlands and this holds the award as "The Acceptable Face of Peas" for my son, who seriously hates peas!
- 1 lb bag of dry split peas.
- A chicken boullion cube.
- A medium-sized leek, chopped and then well washed (no sand please!).
- Two medium onions, chopped.
- A large pork chop or a pig hock or two.
- Two large smoked pork sausages (e.g. Kielbasa). Don't slice up!.
- Five rashers of thick-cut smoked bacon. Don't chop up!.
- Four sticks of celery, chopped.
- A handful of small carrots, chopped.
- A large potato, peeled and chopped.
- Two quarts of chicken broth.
- For a garnish when serving, the young fresh inner leaves of the celery, chopped, or else chopped parsley.
- Put the peas, the bouillon cube, the pork chop, and the broth into a large pot, put the lid on, and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about tree-quarters of an hour to soften the peas (they'll probably look like a sludge by the end - that's good!). Stir the mix every few minutes to prevent the mix from "catching" (sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning).
- Take out the chop. If you have used a chop with a bone, cut off all the meat and discard the bone (Don't give cooked bones to animals: the bones can easily splinter and cause serious damage!).
- Add all the vegetables and the bacon. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring at least every five minutes. If it looks like getting too thick then add some water periodically.
- For the last 15 minutes add the sausage.
- Slice the cooked meat from the pork chop into thin pieces of a size convenient to eat.
- When the vegetables are tender use tongs to pull out the sausage and bacon. Slice the bacon small and the sausage into rings.
- Add all the meat back to the soup, saving a little sausage to use as garnish.
8. Serve in bowls garnished with a few rings of the sausage and some chopped celery leaves.
General verdict: Lekker!!!
Sweet Corn Chowder
- 2.5 lb peeled-weight potatoes
- 1 cup frozen sweet corn
- 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
- 1 quart chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
- Half pound of grated cheddar (preferably sharp)
- A third of a cup of flour
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- A pinch of salt
- Half a teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Peel and chop the potatoes into about half-inch cubes
- Put them into a large pot and just cover with water.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer until soft - about 15 minutes
- Drain water from potatoes and return them to the pot.
- Remove 1 cup of the potatoes, mash them well, and return them to the pot.
- Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper, and garlic, and bring to a boil.
- Add the flour to the buttermilk and mix well.
- Reduce the potato mix to a simmer.
- Gently add the buttermilk/flour mixture, stirring well.
- Add the cheese, in small amounts, stirring well all the while to mix in one batch of cheese before adding the next.
- Add the sweet corn and stir in.
General verdict: Surprisingly good. The buttermilk gives it a faint tang which contrasts well with the sweet of the corn.
All these soups taste as well if not better the next day, and can be frozen for later.
Eat well and keep warm!