This soup is very much for the potato people, my people. If you merely “like” potatoes, you will probably like this soup, but if, in your world, the potato is the pinnacle of nature’s bounty, this soup is for you. It contains other ingredients, but these serve mainly to make the potato shine in all its earthy goodness.
If you really love the potato, make your chopped potatoes bigger — on the order of one-inch cubes, or mix larger and smaller cubes. The big chunks won’t break down as you reheat the soup. If you prefer your potatoes blend well with all the other ingredients, chop everything a little smaller. I opt for nice big chunks of all the vegetables, all of which then maintain their structural integrity and individual flavors and textures.
The original recipe on which this soup is based is lost to the many moves of my grad school years. One of my roommates picked it up at one of our local grocery stores, in the free recipes section up front, and it was cheap and hearty, which made it a winner in our house. It still is. It bears up to some messing with, mainly on quantities and sizes of ingredients, and is easily made vegetarian, but the way I’ve written it up for you is the way I like it best.
Best Potato Soup
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped or crumbled *(optional — leave off or use a veg substitute to make this vegetarian)
2 teaspoons oil or fat, melted *(olive oil works great. I usually use bacon fat.)
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cups broth *(I prefer half vegetable broth, and half chicken broth, both homemade, but all of one or the other works fine.)
- 4 cups cubed potatoes
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt, to taste *(probably not necessary if you are using commercial broths)
- shredded cheddar cheese or cheddar-style vegan cheese *(Daiya is my preference)
Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat until hot. Add onion. Cook until onion is translucent, 5 or so minutes. Add carrots, celery, broth, potatoes, and cayenne. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are done. Taste, add salt if needed. Serve topped with bacon and shredded cheese, if desired.
It really is that easy, and this soup ages very well over the next 5 days or so. The recipe easily doubles to feed a crowd (or yourself all week).