Friday, October 28, 2011

Sober Me Up Soup

Pup likes to name my creations.  This one was completed shortly after he'd worked his way through a six pack of PBR.  He ate two bowls and among exclamations of "this is so awesome, Mom!" he also avowed amazement that he had lost his buzz.

This is the recipe that I started with.

Mashed Potato Soup


  •  4 baking potatoes (about 2 lb.)
  •  4 slices bacon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives or scallions

·         1. Prick potatoes all over with a fork; microwave on high until cooked through, turning once, 12 to 15 minutes total. Let cool slightly and scoop out flesh, discarding skins. Mash with a fork. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Let cool, then crumble.
·         2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth and light golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Stir in cheese, potatoes and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cheese melts and soup is heated through. Whisk in sour cream. Check seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Divide among 6 soup bowls and sprinkle each with bacon and chives.

This is not the recipe I ended up using.  

First of all, why would I nuke my potatoes in the microwave?  Ick.  Just ick.  I don't like anything out of the microwave most of the time.  My friend Rey over at I Am A G.R.I.T.S can cook in a microwave, but I apparently never figured it out.  Rey is a lot better at most things technological than I am.  We've lost count over the years of the times I've handed her some gizmo or other (including laptops, cell phones, and simple handheld games) and begged for help of some type.  At one point I gave her a laptop and and cried in exasperation "If you can make it work, you can keep the damned thing!"  She made it work.  It died an accident related death eventually, but she revived it for a second hoorah. 

Anyway... I got sidetracked.  Where was I?  Oh yeah!  Microwaves and soup. 

So, I do have a microwave, although I think I've used it maybe three times.  The only reason I actually have a microwave is because Beth moved out of the apartments about the same time we were moving in.  I've used it to heat up damp towels for aching muscles, melt butter, and pop popcorn once (which I burned... dammit).   I was not about to trust something as important as dinner to a microwave oven.  Besides, I have to pay for the extra electricity, and the gas is free.  

And step two, butter?  Why would I need butter?  If I am cooking bacon, there ought to be at least two tablespoons of drippings.  That would taste so much better, and I wouldn't be using up extra ingredients.  I actually had more than two tablespoons of drippings left after I cooked the bacon, so I saved the excess in my grease tin.  

So, I cooked the the bacon in the bottom of the pot I planned to cook in.   Cooked it to absolute death, I might add.  Bacon needs to be super crunchy for good bacon bits.  While the bacon was cooking, I peeled and diced my potatoes.  I didn't go buy four baking potatoes for this.  I just kind of eyeballed my regular spuds, and peeled as many as I thought would work.  I followed the recommended amounts for milk and flour to thicken the soup.  I have a bad tendency to add too much flour at first, then trying to thin the stuff out is a nightmare.  I figured I'd be a little more intelligent this time, and simmer it down to the desired thickness. I added just enough water to cover the potatoes, seasoned it up, and let it simmer until the potatoes started to crumble up into the soup.  I whisked it regularly to keep the gravy from sticking.  

Once the potatoes started to disintegrate, I turned the heat down to a low simmer to let it thicken up.  

I crumbled the bacon and added it at the last minute, along with some dried chives, served with a sprinkle of shredded cheese (whatever happened to be in the fridge), and  a dollop of sour cream.  

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