The only good thing about this terribly cold weather is that it provides an excuse to try out new recipes using my Crock-Pot. I decided to make potato soup this past weekend, and found this recipe which looked pretty healthy. I chopped everything on Saturday (mastered dicing an onion!) and starting cooking it on Sunday morning, since it takes about 8 hours on high before the milk is even added (most Crock-Pot dishes I’ve made take about 4 hours on high).
1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 pounds potatoes
6 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp cracked pepper
2 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Finely dice the celery and onion. Peel the carrots and then grate them on a cheese grater. Mince the garlic or use pre-minced from a jar. Add all of this to the slow cooker. Clean the potatoes well, cut into one inch cubes or smaller, and add them to the slow cooker.
Prepare 6 cups of chicken broth by dissolving the chicken base in 6 cups of water (or use homemade or store bought broth). Add to the slow cooker. Add some freshly cracked black pepper (about a 1/4 tsp). Secure the lid on the cooker and cook on high for approximately 8 hours (give or take an hour).
Open the slow cooker and test the potatoes for tenderness. They should be very soft. The onions and celery should also be very soft and transparent. Whisk 1/4 cup of flour into 2 cups of milk and then stir that mixture into the soup. Secure the lid once more and let cook on high for another 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the soup should once again be bubbling. It needs to be bubbling for the flour to have it’s full thickening power. Use a potato masher, immersion blender, or a hand mixer to “mash” the potatoes. Or, you can transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree (be careful, it’s HOT) until smooth and then stir it back in to the rest. Taste the soup and add salt as needed (about one teaspoon). Serve hot.
You can also use chicken base or bouillon plus water in place of broth to save money. However, I used 32 oz low fat, low sodium chicken broth and 16 oz water in order to ensure that it wasn’t too salty. I also used baby carrots and sliced them, since the store was out of 2 pound bags of carrots and I didn’t really need a 5 pound bag.
Luckily, russet potatoes were on sale for $1.50 for a 5 pound bag (8 medium potatoes) — I used 5, which is as many would fit in the Crock-Pot.
I got a little too carried away with the mashing, and it wasn’t as chunky as I would have preferred, but that can be prevented next time. I also added an extra tablespoon of flour, didn’t look thick enough for my taste.
Results: It was good, not great. Definitely good enough to eat the entire thing — I made several lunches out of it and stuck some in the freezer — but I felt like it was missing some sort of seasoning. The original recipe said that you didn’t need to add anything to it, but I added shredded cheddar cheese (low fat, of course), which, when melted, made it really yummy.
Anyone who has made potato soup have any seasoning recommendations? Maybe next time I’ll add turkey bacon or ham (not healthy, but tasty). Also — what to do with the remaining potatoes?
P.S. I also learned the importance of chopping and freezing excess carrots and celery right away before they go bad…which is good, because celery doesn’t seem to have much of a refrigerator life, and there are only so many carrots I can eat at one time.