This recipe fulfills two of my immediate needs. First, for those of you who have never visited Belgium in February, most days are cold and damp, or in my mind, soup weather. You know what I am talking about; weather that drives you inside and makes your body crave warm and comforting food. That has essentially been every day since we arrived at the end of last month and is likely to continue until….well…all year around. Second, this recipe is easy–ridiculously easy in fact. If you want to get really basic, all you need for kitchen utensils are a sharp knife, a spoon, a soup pot, and a burner. If you want to get fancy, as I did in celebration of our unaccompanied baggage arriving, you can use a vegetable peeler and a stick blender. But the later are only conveniences as you can remove potato peels with a sharp knife and use a spoon to break up the potato chunks. If you use this method, the soup will be chunkier but just as tasty.
Eating this soup is like sipping a loaded baked potato. It is rich, creamy, and satisfying in a way that good comfort food always is. I topped my soup with two of my favorite baked potato toppings–crispy fried pancetta and shredded Cheddar cheese–but you can add your own favorites instead. Green onions, sour cream, or even bits of steamed broccoli would all be good. Most importantly, however, this soup is easy. And that is what you really want when you don’t have a lot of time.
POTATO GARLIC SOUP
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and sliced into rings
1 large white onion, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces pancetta, diced and fried until crispy
- Place the potatoes, onions, garlic, salt, and chicken broth in a large stock pot set over medium-high heat.
- Bring the soup to a simmer, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
- Return the soup to the stove and add the heavy cream. Stir well and gradually reheat the soup being sure that it does not boil.
- Season with salt and pepper, add your favorite toppings and serve.