Friday, March 1, 2013

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Five million years ago, when I was unmarried and breathtakingly young and completely unaware of my own fleeting good looks, my slightly-younger brother and I went to a soup-tasting festival intended for senior citizens in the small city where we both lived because there was nothing ELSE going on during the day. It was my brother's idea - he was great at coming up with off-kilter, fun things to do and now I'm wistful for the spaces that adult life puts between siblings, these people who used to always be around.

So anyhow: Old People Soup Party! We went around and ate many little paper cups of soup and the old people told us, over and over again, how lovely it was to see us there. Of course it was, we assured them, and decided that our favorite soup was the Potato Soup with Blue Cheese and Bacon, which has haunted me ever since because I've never found it again. And I couldn't eat it now even if I did, so there's no chance of me having a Proustian AHA moment someday over soup. It's all gone, it won't come back.

My oldest daughter has been taking a cooking class and last night she came home with a paper cup of something that smelled amazing. It was, she told me, potato soup, and she had brought it home for me to try. And it was - in a completely different way - just as good as the long lost Blue Cheese and Bacon Soup, a subtle reminder that time doesn't just take things away, never to return. Sometimes it brings new things: my breathtakingly young daughter, the soup she made with her own competent hands.

So I got up early this morning to make soup and really, REALLY it's because I'm a morning person, that's my one little window of time during the day when I might actually do something, all right? Anyhow. I got up to make that same soup for my kids' lunches, in part because it was so tasty and so easy and also because it's Friday, grocery day, and the cupboards are BARE and the soup is made of practically nothing. And it turned out good and simple and soul-satisfying, and I recommend it.

Cheddar Potato Soup
25 ml butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove chopped up garlic
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
375 ml chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
375 ml milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
375 ml grated cheddar

"Read the recipe and understand what you will be doing," M's recipe helpfully states at the beginning. Isn't that good advice?

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Throw in the onion and garlic, and cook until tender but not brown. Add the potatoes and make sure they're thoroughly coated in butter. Add the chicken stock and thyme and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cover and cook for about 20 minutes or so or until the potatoes are tender.

Puree in a blender or in a food processor in batches until it's smooth (and BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET SPLASHED because I wasn't careful this morning and it HURT.). The recipe says to only puree HALF the soup and to leave the other half chunky but I pureed the whole damn thing, so it's your call, really. Return everything to the pot, add in the milk and reheat. Add the cheddar and the Worcestershire sauce and cook at a low temperature until the cheese melts.

Ta da! Soup. You can garnish it with diced green onions, if you're fancy. The recipe claims to make six servings, but I'm dubious about this - I filled 3 small thermoses with it and I had enough leftover to half fill a mug for myself. It is very, very good.


  1. "I'm wistful for the spaces that adult life puts between siblings, these people who used to always be around." I feel this so often. Well put.
    And I'm making this soup. But I'll add bacon, because BACON!

    Wonderful post Beck.

  2. I added bacon sprinkled on top and it was amazing.

    And now I feel like those people who write on epicurious about how they totally made the same recipe as you but substituted four cloves for six and added a pint of wine oh and also used cauliflower instead of potatoes..

    wait that actually sounds good.

    PS: You made soup *and* wrote a blog post before 11 am! You get to rest for the rest of the day.

    1. Those people crack me up. "Loved this recipe! Changed every ingredient and the method! Perfect! Five stars!"

      Have you seen this recipe on for ice cubes? Good for a chuckle, especially if you spend a lot of time on cooking websites:

  3. I'm enjoying that everyone's first response was to add bacon. I'll probably do that, too. Michael's theory is that every food you can name can be improved with either bacon or chocolate... it's fun to test out that hypothesis. *burps gently*

  4. DAMMIT BECK. You made me tear up on a post about soup. SOUP. Truly lovely. BTW, I would have also pureed the whole damn thing. I prefer my soups smooth and bisque-y.

  5. Oh my god, I actually have all of these ingredients in my house right now and nothing for dinner. I'm so making this!

  6. I would puree it all too. Chunks are for chumps. :)