The crisp Fall air rolling in causes colorful leaves to flutter from their trees, and signifies the beginnings of Soup Weather. While I often prefer a soup with a lot going on, sometimes the most comforting soup is also the most simple.
When I was a kid, my favorite soup was Campbell’s Cream of Potato Soup. I don’t know what is was about that condensed soup with a smattering of potato bits. Maybe it was because I could make it for myself after school, or maybe it was the novelty of mixing milk into the glob o’ canned soup instead of water, but Campbell’s Cream of Potato was my go-to soup on a cold day for a large chunk of my childhood.
I don’t remember when I outgrew the Campbell’s, but like most childhood things, I did. Then, once when I was in college–back when swirling a beaten egg into Ramen noodles was considered fine dining–I bought a can of cream of potato for the sake of nostalgia. I wish I could say that it was as good as I remembered…but it was awful! I was more than a little bummed that my old favorite turned out to be much more bland than I remembered.
As an adult, I set out to recreate the comforting soup that I subsisted on as a kid. Eventually, I learned how to make a cream of potato soup that lived up to my childhood memories: smooth and creamy, with nice big chunks of potatoes–and it doesn’t take all that much longer to prepare than a canned soup–I can get it on the table in about half an hour. I’ve played around with the recipe and tried to fancy-it-up with roasted garlic, leeks, cheese, or bacon, but I must say that I prefer the unadorned version best. I think the real comfort comes from it’s simplicity. My Cream of Potato Soup will warm the heart on a cool Fall day.
Cream of Potato Soup
Serves 4 to 6
5 large Yukon Gold potatoes (or 4 large russets,) peeled and diced into ½ inch chunks
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
7 C. low-sodium chicken stock
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¾ C. half & half (or heavy whipping cream)
- Melt butter in the bottom of a large stock pot set over medium heat, until butter is frothing. Sauté the minced garlic in the butter for 30 seconds.
- Add the chicken stock and potatoes to the stock pot. Raise the heat to medium-high to bring stock to a boil. Continue to boil for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until potatoes are tender.
- Reduce heat to low. Season soup with salt, pepper, and thyme and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove 1 ½ cups of the potatoes with little broth from the pot. Puree the potatoes with the half & half in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Additional broth may be added to the blender by the tablespoon, if necessary to get a smooth consistency.
- Stir the pureed mixture back into the soup in the stock pot and heat through.
- Serve hot.
What was your go-to afterschool snack as a kid?
Do you love it as much now as you did then?