Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cheesy Potato Soup

Sometimes, I don’t want cooking to be an adventure.  Sometimes, after being away from my brand new apartment still half in boxes for nine days, I want to open a bottle of wine, cook up a new potato soup recipe from one of my magazines and have a relaxing night, sipping wine and soup and watching Up.  Maybe even get my new fireplace a going.

So Sunday afternoon I went straight to the grocery store without heading home first.  As I’m driving home dreaming of a nice glass of red, I suddenly remember “my silverware drawer”.  I raced to the front office which amazingly stays open till 5 pm on Sunday evening and asked if I received any packages.  No.  I checked my mailbox, hoping to find a reason why there, only to discover that for whatever reason the post office has deemed my mail undeliverable because my last name isn’t on the outside of the mailbox.  

I called Ben deflated.  How am I supposed to make potato soup without a knife??  All I have are the crappy plastic ware I bought to tide me over until me silverware came.  I take a deep breath and resolve that, yes, I can do this, as long as I have a good glass of wine to boost my spirits.  Then it really hit the fan... corkscrew…

And there, in a few paragraphs, explains how my relaxing Sunday early evening got flushed down the toilet.  Yet, incredibly enough, the soup still happened.  It think it was the realization that it was the one thing in my power to make happen and that eating crappy frozen food would have let me completely and irreversibly in the doldrums.  Not that half way through chopping my onion, aka demolishing it into a pile of mush with a crappy plastic knife, eyes overflowing with tears, I didn't consider trashing the whole things and eating chocolate for dinner.  But then I realized that my super awesome pizza cutter actual did a comparatively good job at cubing potatoes and that I love cheese in every form and somehow, this soup came together.

I would love to tell you that it was so amazing, that it was well worth the internal struggle and resolve, but it was just alright.  Not bad by any means, just not really repeatable for any reason either.  I made only a few changes, I didn't use reduce fat cheddar cheese (because, why would you?) and it needed a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.  I also upped the cayenne quantity to almost 1/4 teaspoon, but that's a personal preference.  Also, the original recipe calls for 3/4 cup broth and 1/2 of water.  There is no reason to not use 1 1/4 cup of broth, it very much needs the extra flavor.  Lucky for me, I've been using Better than Bouillon, and it's easy to stir in a little more.  Overall, good and filling, but just a little bland.  The good news there is that the leftovers were even better then the original pot.  Just be sure to not skimp on the green onion topping, it's definitely worth it, even if you are chopping them with a pizza cutter.

Cheesy Potato Soup

1 Tbsp. Butter
1 c. Onion, chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
3 c. Red potato, chopped (~1 lb.)
1 1/4 c. 1% Milk
1 1/4 c. Lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. (2 oz.) Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. Ground red pepper
Green onions, chopped, for garnish

In large pot over medium heat, melt butter.  Add chopped onion and cook until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring continuously, 1 minute more.  Immediately add remaining ingredients, through chicken broth stirring well so flour does not lump.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.

Add shredded cheese and red pepper.  Immediately remove from heat, stirring continuously until cheese is completely melted.  Ladle into individual bowls and top with green onions (you could do some extra cheese too, it's ok, I won't tell Cooking Light on you...)  Enjoy!

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