Kick-Butt Potato Soup (Seriously, You Need To Try This)

Okay, so I've been trying new vegetarian & vegan recipes galore for the last 10 weeks, and I've learned a LOT (as in, my cooking wasn't too hot at the outset, but it has progressively gotten better). I'd love to fill you in on many of the new things we've tried so far during our Heissertarian journey, but there are just so many and such precious little time to write it all.

But tonight, despite recovering from an extremely extreme case of strep throat and one of the most draining weekends of my life, I felt the need to do a little celebrating (ahem...gloating...?), because I made some soup--from scratch--that I'm calling Taste of Poland Soup (otherwise known as Kick-Butt Potato Soup).

Seriously. It's that good.

My 6-year-old exclaimed, "I LOVE this soup!!" More than once. He also stood up, walked over to me, and gave me a hug & kiss and said, "thank you for making this yummy food." (I know...kind of sounds like I torture him with food the rest of the time!)

And just as I began writing this post, my (recently-turned) 4-year-old asked me, "tomorrow, can we have more of that yummy soup?"

Yes, I am basking in the glory of my triumph. Because it's likely to be short-lived, when I next strike out into unknown cooking territory. That's okay. I'll take it for tonight!

So, to back up a little, I went to Poland several times on summer missions trips between 1998-2005 (teaching English during summer camps with an organization called Josiah Venture), WAAAAAY back when I was in college (and just after). And one thing I discovered there is that I really like Polish food. A LOT more than German food, in fact (sorry, Germany). (I've also been to Germany a couple of times.)

See? Isn't Poland lovely?
Teaching the Advanced English class, circa 2005.

One staple in the Polish diet (hopefully I'm not too far off on my facts here) is soup, typically served at lunchtime prior to anything else. Another is potatoes. And a third is dill. (There are others too, like tea...~sigh~...tea.)

It just so happens that I love all three of those things--soup, potatoes, and dill, that is--although I do also enjoy lunch...and tea...and...Poland. I'm also certain that I had more than one soup in Poland containing both potatoes and dill. Whenever I was back home (from a trip to Poland), I would occasionally look for a soup recipe with these ingredients, and I've even browsed for Polish cookbooks now and then trying to find this unknown soup, but I've never come up with a definitive recipe that even came remotely close to the taste memory that I have of eating potato soup with dill in Poland.

Until tonight.

Now, it's completely possible that I just have forgotten what the soup actually tasted like in Poland--after all, it has been about 8 years since I was last there. (Seriously? I swear it was like 2 years ago!) Either way, I'm totally thrilled that I made something (all by myself) that I liked AND that my whole family liked...and that reminds me of Poland, too.

So, without further ado, I give you the recipe for Taste of Poland Soup:

1-2 Tbsp oil or butter (butter tastes better!)
~4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced/chopped
~2 medium carrots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
~1/4 yellow onion, or to taste, chopped or diced (notice there's going to be a lot of approximations...I didn't really measure anything as I was making it)
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped cabbage
1/2 to 1 cup cubed tofu (I used firm that had already been panfried, but...use whatever you want)
6 cups vegetable broth
salt & pepper to taste
dill. a lot of dill. (no idea...2 Tbsp??)
1/2 to 1 cup cream or sour cream (I would have used cream but didn't have any, so I used sour cream)
opt: mashed potato flakes (to help with thickening if needed/desired)

1. Heat oil or butter in a large soup pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt & pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-10 minutes (sorry...I kept adding things, so it might have been shorter if I had had a solid plan from the beginning). You just want it to start blending, and you want the onions & garlic to do their thing. Seriously--can you ever go wrong using onions & garlic??
2. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
3. Add the dill and cabbage, and taste it. Add more dill if needed. Or maybe start out easy on the dill and add gradually. But you definitely want to taste the dill.
4. Add the tofu, and cook, gently boiling, for about 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
5. Taste and add dill, salt & pepper as needed. Remove from heat.

Now here, you have a choice: you can either eat it as-is, which I think will turn out pretty good, or you can go on to make a pureed soup. Here's what it looks like at this point:

If you choose to go on (I did), then here are the remaining steps:

6. Puree the soup (partially or fully, depending on your preference), using an immersion blender (ideally) right in the soup pot. I however, do not own an immersion blender, so I improvised using a combination of hand beaters and 2 different potato mashers. Whatever works for you. I tried blending hot soup once using my blender (read about that here)--I just don't have the patience for that kind of thing!
7. Add cream or sour cream and reheat the soup gently, until the cream is fully incorporated, about 5 minutes more. Don't boil it!
8. Taste again and add more dill (probably). And/or more salt & pepper. If desired, add a few mashed potato flakes, in very small amounts, to thicken slightly.
9. Serve and enjoy.

Prep/cooking time: 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how together you are and how many times your children interrupt you
Serves: 4-6

Seriously--I loved this soup. Hope you do, too! Or that you at least like it a little. Or don't hate it.



PS: I wrote seriously a LOT in this post. I was serious. And am. About you trying this soup. Please?


Popular posts from this blog

Parenting in a Time of COVID-19


Insert Brilliant Title Here, or the Post Wherein I Ramble and Roam