Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Begins: The Month of St. Patrick, Lent and March Madness; Potato Soup Is The Perfect Antidote to a Lingering Winter

In my family, the potato is 'king'.

In fact, there's a story about one child (who shall remain nameless) getting an extra helping of the satisfying spud by selling her vote to watch a TV show that everyone didn't agree on.

With our name being McDermott, you might assume that our love of the potato has something to do with being Irish but I was surprised to learn that the potato originated 7,000 years ago in the Andes of South America. The Andean climate was austere and the soil poor but the durable root vegetable proved its toughness by thriving in those rough climes. It wasn't until the 1500s that the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in Peru. Much later that same century the potato made it's way across the ocean to Spain.

Three decades later the potato had finally spread to the rest of Europe and eventually made it's way to Ireland but not until the 1790s. The Irish adopted the rugged veggie because of it's ability to produce abundant amounts of nutritious food in poor soil and because of this success the population of Ireland exploded in a very short time. In the 1840s, a disease caused by a fungus devastated the potato crop and the repercussions changed Ireland forever. Starvation and emigration cut Ireland's population by half.

With Lent approaching, potato soup is a hearty, satisfying, meatless meal to prepare as our cold, snowy winter evolves into spring. This recipe is very easy and can be made ahead and frozen. We enjoyed ours with homemade buttermilk biscuits. Check the Sunday, Feb 20th post (Cream of Asparagus Soup) for that recipe.

Potato Soup
4 yukon gold potatoes and two red potatoes (the red potatoes were thinly sliced and added just before serving)
1 1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 cup Whole Milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 stick unsalted butter
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium to large onion, peeled & quartered ( I left this out, not having an onion available but would definitely add this in)
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp. Sea Salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. finely ground black pepper
  • Peel and chop potatoes into bite-sized chunks and place into medium-sized stock pot. Add buttermik, milk and chicken stock.
  • Add stick of butter, allow to melt.
  • Add chopped celery, onion, chopped garlic, sea salt and pepper. Stir until well blended.
  • Cook on low or simmer until potatoes are soft. DO NOT allow soup to boil.

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