What’s Your Favorite Homemade Soup?
If I had to choose an all-time favorite soup from my childhood it would be homemade cream of potato soup. No one could make it like my Grandma, and whenever I visited, I would request it. And if I was home from school suffering with a cold or the flu, my mom knew I’d ask for it.
It took me many years to learn how to make this soup so that it even came close to matching the flavor of my grandma’s version, mostly because I had been too young to think to ask for a recipe to make it myself. In the end I discovered that two items are the main secret ingredients. I’m going to share them with you today. I have no measurements for this recipe, which means it can be made to fit how many servings you require, each time you make it. Experimenting with quantities will help you know beforehand how much to fix. I’m going to show you how to make a large pot of soup for around 6 servings.
Small Yellow Onion
3-4 Celery Stalks of Celery
3# White Potatoes
Whole Milk (preferably organic with cream)
Peel and cube the white potatoes into bite-sized pieces (the smaller the cubes, the faster they will cook and the thicker the soup will become). Cover the cubed potatoes with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a slow boil. While the potatoes are cooking, you can dice the onion and celery and then sauté them in butter (or olive oil) until tender.
Once the potatoes are fork tender, drain about 2/3 of the water. This is one of the secret ingredients: saving about 1/3 of the cooking water in the pot keeps the potato flavor and nutrients in the soup.
Now add in the sautéed onion and celery.
You are ready to add the whole milk. I remove most of the cream from the top of the milk bottle (and make a little pat of butter with it), but there will still be plenty of cream in the milk to give you that rich creamy taste for the soup base. This is the second secret ingredient. Having real, whole milk as your base is key to making this soup flavorful. Most of the commercial milk in grocery stores is highly processed and more of a white liquid than real milk. Those of us who remember having milk delivered to our doors know the difference! But it’s getting easier to find true whole milk that hasn’t been over-processed. Look in the refrigerated section of the grocery store for the glass milk bottles. They will most likely be labeled only as Organic Milk, but you’ll be able to see the cream at the top of the bottle. The bonus with purchasing this type of milk (besides getting healthy milk) is that you can take the bottles back in for money and they are recycled for use again.
Add in enough milk to cover the potatoes and create the consistency you desire. Add in celery seed and pepper. Make sure to heat over a low heat and do not bring the milk to a boil. If by chance it does boil, it’s not ruined—but it does change the consistency of the creamy base. Remember that the vegetables are already cooked tender so simmering the soup merely allows the milk to heat and let the flavors mingle. I recommend letting it cook for at least 30 minutes. Keep a close watch and stir often. Sometimes I add a tablespoon of Irish Butter toward the end and let it melt into the soup.
Ladle up the soup into bowls, dust with black pepper and add crackers for thicker consistency if you’d like. We like to eat our potato soup with cheese (for added protein) and crackers. If you happen to have any leftover soup for another day, you’ll notice that it will be very thick when you start to heat it. Simply add some more milk and heat slowly. Sometimes next-day soup is even better than the first day! I hope you’re inspired to create your own version.
Here’s to making some memories for yourself and family.
Although I prefer to make this soup from fresh ingredients, I do keep powdered milk and canned milk on hand, as well as freeze-dried diced potatoes, onions and celery. In an emergency or a natural disaster scenario, a bowl of hot soup would be a welcomed meal.