For some reason whenever the weather forecast calls for measurable snowfall, I feel the need to run to the grocery store and stock up like the end is near. You’d think I was shopping for 8 people instead of just 2. I always feel the need to make sure my pantry and freezer is stocked full of every imaginable ingredient needed for endless culinary possibilities. I mean, what if I never make it out again? Seriously, I can practically see Target and Walmart from the end of my street. I suppose I could walk there. Well, maybe Wes could walk there.
So as I ponder over the mounds of potatoes in my basement, it occurs to me- January is National soup month! And what warms the soul more than a steamy bowl of hearty homemade soup? Well, how about potato soup with a beautifully puffed and crusty popover?
Chunky Potato Soup
You will need:
¼ cup butter
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup flour
1 ½ tsp dry mustard
4 cups warm chicken broth
1 cup grated carrots
4 cups yukon gold potatoes, peeled and medium diced.
1 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried tarragon
2 ½ cups half and half
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided.
Sliced green onion and cooked crisp bacon for garnish
In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in butter over moderate heat until soft. Stir in flour and dry mustard to make a basic roux. Cook the flour mixture on low heat for about 3-4 minutes until cooked but not browned. You want to be sure the flour is cooked otherwise your soup will have a raw flour taste.
Slowly add the warm chicken broth and bring to a low simmer, stirring until soup is smooth. Add the carrots and potatoes, tarragon and thyme. Continue to simmer partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add half and half and bring again to a simmer. (Tip: I warm the broth and milk in the microwave before adding so the soup comes up to temperature quicker).
To thicken the soup, remove 1 cup of potatoes and liquid from your saucepan and pour into a blender. Pulse until thick but no longer chunky. Add back into the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and stir in 1 cup of the cheese until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with remaining grated cheese, sliced green onion and diced bacon. Dress it up pretty and serve.
Now for 6 popovers you will need:
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose ﬂour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
For best results, you will need a six cup popover pan which is designed to promote the proper air circulation and amount of heat that allows the popovers to rise properly. Simply double the recipe for 12 popovers. Wow, I’m a math genius.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray the wells of your popover pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 tsp. of the melted butter into each cup. Next, whisk the eggs and milk together in a medium bowl then whisk in remaining melted butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, thyme and salt, then whisk in the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously until smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk, Whisk Whisk! Did I mention you will need a whisk?
Divide the batter among the prepared cups and bake for 20 minutes.
Watch through the window of the oven door as the batter rises up to glory, but resist the temptation to open the door! Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack.
Now savor all the joy of that buttery, steamy, airy, flaky deliciousness.
(Popover recipe adapted from Williams Sonoma Kitchen)