Saturday, January 3, 2009
Creamy Potato and Lil Smokies Soup
We are lazy. It's another chilly, blustery day outside ... a day we have resorted to staying in for, even though we are in need of a grocery store trip. I know I just tried the delivery service deal and there are aspects of it I do like; but apparently they don't offer a '30 minutes or less' delivery service. Huh.
So once again, it's dinner via the cupboard leftovers and outcasts. Can't go wrong with a soup; but with the new year the goal is lighter cooking for a while. A can of black beans, some potatoes and some really random meat - Little Smoky Sausages to be exact - and presto, you've got soup. Keep in mind you could use any meat here (bacon of course would be my first choice) or you could skip the meat and go for a vegetarian potato soup, too. To keep the calories down I went with more broth and just a hint of cream to thicken (skipping the flour), and I kept the cheese down to a manageable amount rather than go overboard.
Keep in mind that I used what I had in the house, so if you have a different cheese or different potatoes than I used, just use what you have. This was the first time we tried out the new cast iron pot Dave's folks got us for Christmas- it worked great- thanks!
I wonder if I would be a better or worse cook if I spent more time actually planning meals and shopping for ingredients rather than continually making up ideas out of what's left in the house? We'll probably never know. And right now- I've got a warm, thick, creamy soup in my midst and I don't care. I'm fat and happy!
Potato and Lil Smokies Soup
Sautee in 1 Tbls butter and 2 Tbls olive oil, until onions begin to soften :
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced
Add, stir often and continue to sautee for 2 minutes (you don't want the garlic to burn):
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
Fresh ground black pepper (about 1 tbls)
Add and simmer:
3 chicken bouillon cubes (use veggie cubes if going for a vegetarian soup)
3 1/2 cups of water (of course, if you happen to have real homemade broth- use that in place of the water and bouillon cubes!)
2 medium Russet potatoes, cubed with skin on (feel free to use left over baked potatoes)
10-15 Lil Smokies, sliced into bite sized pieces (try slicing each into three pieces)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
pinch of salt
Continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender and the flavors have melded. (Try mushing some of the potatoes with the back of the spoon to help thicken the soup.) Expect to let this soup simmer for around 1/2 hour.
Add and continuously stir for a couple of minutes, the soup will begin to thicken slightly:
1/2 cup of cream
Turn off heat, stir in:
1/2 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, chopped or shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, chopped or shredded
The heat of the soup will melt the cheese and thicken the soup., but leave the heat off as you don't want the cheese to burn on the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper to taste.
**for a little spicy twist, I added one tsp of green curry (just out of a can) to a left over bowl of this soup I was warming up and it was real fun kick! Be careful though- that green curry can be some hot stuff!